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the gentlewoman from new york. mrs. lowey: mr. speaker, before i yield to my next speaker, i would like to thank mr. frelinghuysen for addressing sequestration and the devastating testimony of all those representing our distinguished armed forces, but i'd also like to clarify again that this continuing resolution reaffirms sequestration. it does nothing in language or deed to make any effort to cancel sequestration. we on this side of the aisle would be very pleased to continue to work with you on regular order to go every bill, casting away waste, fraud, and abuse, but to do away with sequestration, and i know my distinguished chair and i could work it out so we would not have sequestration. this bill, section 3002 reaffirms sequestration. with that i am -- mr. rogers: would the gentlelady
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yield? would the gentlelady be so kind as to talk to the mrs. lowey: i yield. mr. ronellers: would the gentlelady talk to the senate to send us over something to deal with sequestration, and two, would the gentlewoman ask her president to send us something to deal we sequestration? mrs. lowey: i would be happy to do that, but i have read this very carefully and this deals with sequestration. we have a bill that does away with sequestration which my good friend, mr. frelinghuysen says, and i was at the hearing too, would hollow out the forces. why don't you submit an amendment and get rid of sequestration? mr. rogers: if the gentlewoman would yield, last year we voted twice to get rid of
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sequestration and it died because the senate wouldn't take it up. mrs. lowey: i would be delighted to yield one minute to our distinguished leader who has provided important leadership on cutting out waste, fraud, and abuse in our budget. the speaker pro tempore: the norlte leader is recognized. ms. pelosi: i thank congresswoman lowey for yielding me time in this debate. i listened to mr. frelinghuysen and i heard him say how awful sequestration would be and i completely concur with him on that i also heard him say this bill, nothing in this bill does anything on sequestration. well if it does nothing, why sit in the bill? is it to get votes on the republican side because there's not support on the republican side for the line of investments that were called for in the budget control act? if that's the case, then let's
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be clear about it and put it forth. but if it has nothing to do with sequestration, mr. frelinghuysen, why is it in the bill? is it a waste of time? of space? sit a topic of discussion that is fruitless because it has nothing to do with se west ration? but it's in there because it sends a very serious message. why are we in this place? we're in this place, in this chametpwhofere house of representatives, represent the american people. we recognize that a thriving middle class is the back bone of our democracy and that we are here to meet the needs of the american people and strengthen that democracy. with the legislation before us today, we undermine, we undermine all of -- underlined all of the efforts. with the sequestration, which is reaffirmed in this
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legislation, we go down a path that's harmful to our economy and to our national security. don't take it from me, the federal reserve chairman ben bernanke told congress last week on more than one occasion that the cuts of this size made this quickly would hurt hiring and income. cost the economy 750,000 jobs, keep deficits larger. why are we in this place? we are in this place because the republicans have said that they would not pose any -- close any tax loopholes except to lower rates. not to lower the deficit, but except to lower rates. so here we are, because they will not close any loopholes, to relouis -- reduce the deficit twombing reduce the deficit another way. for example, they will not close the loophole for tax breaks for corporate jets.
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instead, they want to cut four million meals on wheels. four million meals on wheels. instead of closing loopholes for big oil, they want to cut investments in little children's education. instead of closing tax loopholes for corporations that send jobs overseas, imagine that, that's my personal favorite. tax cuts for corporations that send jobs overseas. they want to lose 750,000 jobs here in our country. instead of ensuring that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share, our military readiness will be impaired and health care for our military families could be cut. on a personal basis, we have teachers educating our children of our military families who will be harmed by this. we had psychiatric nurses who meet the needs of our returning vets with ptsd and other challenges who may be furloughed because of this what
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do we say to them? oh it's more important to have tax breaks for corporate jets and millionaires, billionaires, we had an opportunity today in our previous question to bring to the floor the proposal advanced by mr. chris van hollen our ranking member on the budget committee. mr. van hollen's proposal is responsible, fair, and balanced. it cuts spending responseably. it ends unnecessary and wasteful tax breaks for special interests, which i just named. it advances the buffett rule, ensuring that millionaires pay their fair share. i mention that because this is over and above, i mean i mention it because it's yet again another time where the republicans, at least on four occasions, shut down the opportunity to debate an alternative to what the republicans are proposing. this is on top of all that we
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are already trying -- already agreed to. many of nuss a bipartisan way voted for the budget control act which cut $1.2 trillion in spending. that was in addition to over $300 billion already cut last year. that is in addition to the president and members of congress saying we are prepared to make further cuts, waste, frud, abuse, and some things maybe are not wasteful, they have just not a priority anymore. we found a better way to do it. so maybe they're duplicative or obsolete but nonetheless we can't afford them any more. let's subject every dollar to harsh scrutiny. you have to subject spending to tax breaks. when you give tax breaks to big oil, as incentive to drill,
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you're spending taxpayer dollars. what's interesting about this, in what the republicans are supporting, they are so totally out of sink with the american people. republicans, republicans across our country are opposed to corporate jet loopholes. they want to close the corporate jet loophole and republicans support that. they want to eliminate oil and gas tax breaks. republicans by majority support eliminating that. republicans say we should limit deductions for millionaires and billionaires, they say we should end tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas. republicans by and large support that. even republicans in the senate say we must look at closing loopholes not just to lower rates for corporate america but in order to lower the deficit. instead of going to our children, our seniors, our workers, and all the rest to
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make those cuts. so we are in a situation here today that is created not because the republicans passed two bills last year. i know the gentleman -- the gentlemen are speaking on the floor but they know that that last year is over. the congress is ended. those womens have no weight. the cutting, the spending cuts we agreed to last year are for over 10 years. the bill that the republican passed last year ended at the end of the last congress. how to make a law. just read the look. and i recognize that you would hardly recognize that civics lesson if you see what's happening on the floor here today and over the last period of time. but i have enormous, enormous respect for the chairman of the appropriations committee. we sat on that committee together for a number of years. i appreciate that he wanted to bring a bill to the floor that honors the budget control act. i disagree with the tactic of
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putting a reinforcement of the sequester into the law. it exists. we have to do the sequester unless we can head it off. unless the safety of our troops and their training, our national security, the education of our children, the safety of our neighbors, unless that takes precedence over protecting tax breaks for corporate jets, businesses that send jobs overseas, the list goes on and i mentioned it now more than one time. so i urge my colleagues to think carefully about this vote. this isn't a vote to shut down government or not. that vote will come another time. the senate isn't going to accept this bill. the senate is not going to accept this bill. we'll send back another bill and see how many votes there are on the republican side to keep government open because we have absolutely no intention of having the government shut
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down. we'll see how many republican votes there are for that, for a bill, that it will be a better bill than this, although -- and what that will do to the economy. think of what it does in the lives of those four million meals not delivered, those seniors not getting the meal or children not getting head start or beyond that, the education of the children. teachers teaching children of military families who will have to lose their jobs or be furloughed. this has an impact right at the kitchen table of the american people system of we have to think very seriously about what we are doing here. but whatever we do, let's have it beyond the level. this is the bill that reinforces the sequester.
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if it didn't, it wouldn't be in the bill. so this bill, i think, has no merit and it will not have my support. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the minority leader yield back. the gentlewoman reserves. mr. rogers: may i inquire how many speakers remain on the gentlelady's side? i have one remaining speaker. mrs. lowey: we have three remaining speakers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york. mrs. lowey: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to ms. wasserman schultz. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. wasserman schultz: i rise with grave concern over the continuing resolution we are considering today. while we support efforts to prevent a government shutdown.
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there's no question that our men and women serving in afghanistan deserve our support. but so do our children here in america. yet the c.r. underfunds head start by $70 million even though both the house and senate fiscal year 2013 bills provide significant increases to the program in the regular budget process. in addition to underfunding programs like the affordable care act and the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children, the c.r. does nothing to stop the budget cuts for any agency, including defense. i hope we can work together to replace these indiscriminate, meat ax cuts with a balanced approach to avoid compromising our future through lack of investments in education, infrastructure, defense and public safety. sequester cuts will be like slowly turning up the heat to boil a pot of water. thankfully the house is bringing the bill to the floor in time to act.
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it would take a balanced approach to deficit reduction with targeted spending cuts and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy to use the revenue and spending cuts to pay down our debts. mr. speaker, taking an indiscriminate meat ax approach there to the sequester, to reducing our deficit in a balanced way is irresponsible and we must work together and i implore our friends on the other side of the aisle to come together and work together with us toward compromise so that we can avoid gravely harming our domestic priorities including women, children, families, and think middle class. it is still possible and there is still time. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentlelady from new york reserves. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlewoman from new york. mrs. lowey: i am delighted -- i
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am delighted to yield two minutes to the distinguished ranking member of the defense appropriations committee, mr. -- the speaker pro tempore: the the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. visclosky: i want to thank the members of all of the subcommittees for their efforts throughout the years but particularly those on the defense subcommittee as well as our staff. i do spend to support the measure. but do ask a question. where are the other 10 bills for the department of agriculture, the department of transportation and others with less than six months left in the fiscal year? for some of my colleagues who would vote for no appropriation measure ever in their life, i ask, what is there to fight over with the national institute of standards?
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for the copyright royalty tribunal or me mine safety and health administration? i am grievously concerned, mr. chairman, that we no longer legislate in this body but we lurch. we lurch from crisis to crisis. i find it inexplicable that some of my colleagues would vote in a heart beat far continuing resolution to run the government looking backwards last year at exactly the same amount of money for a similar appropriation bill with all 12 bills so that we could make decisions and exercise our constitutional responsibility. continuing resolutions run the most powerful nation on earth, like we did last year. we are absent any legislative decisions, and it be an be a
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vocation of our constitutional responsibility. i push further and say we have a mandate. in article 1, section 9, there is one sentence that says no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law. it is time that congress begins to appropriate measures and runs this government and country and stops lurching. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from new york reserves. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. rogers: mr. chairman, i yield myself one minute and would ask mr. visclosky if he might rejoin us at the microphone. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky is recognized for one minute. mr. rogers: on the point the gentleman just approached and that is the passage of bills. it's one of the most frustrating things of my life is that we cannot get the senate to pass any appropriations bills. as the gentleman knows, because he helped pass the defense bill
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for this year and all years, we passed through the house committee all 12 bills. we sent them to the senate and we -- all we got back was a resounding slower, they didn't do anything. and when the senate doesn't appropriate, in spite of the fact we passed all of our bills over here, we have to pass a continuing resolution and that is where we are. and i lament that as does the gentleman, and i know that he joins me in wanting us to pass through regular order each individual bills, brings it to the floor -- bring it to the floor, have the colleagues vote on it. mr. his clouse key: if the gentleman will yield? i would concur of the gentleman's remarks and would note that -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. visclosky: it includes the united states senate. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman reserves. mr. rogers: mr. speaker, i
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yield four minutes -- three minutes to the gentleman from iowa who chairs the transportation, housing and urban development subcommittee on appropriations, hardworking member, mr. latham, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from iowa is recognized for three minutes. mr. latham: i thank the speaker. i thank the chairman of the full committee for the opportunity to address this. i've been sitting here listening and hear the minority leader come to the floor and talk about children, about old people, about teachers, all these things that she voted to cut the spending for to fund. i mean, how can you support a bill, support the sequester, insisted on by the president of the united states as his idea that he brought forth to try and resolve the differences at that time, something that he
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supports, he insisted on, the minority leader voted for these cuts that she now bemoans. it's vas nating when you look at the -- it's fascinating when you look at the reality of the situation. there are some that did not support this because of the way the sequester would take place. they can say it's not going to happen. the fact of the matter is it's law. because the minority leader insisted on it. to come to the floor and talk about these cuts today, something she supported, is really quite fascinating oit -- to anyone listening or watching this debate today. mr. speaker, i tell you it is very frustrating. as someone who went through the entire process last year with my ranking member, mr.
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albright. we had three days on the floor of the house. open rules with amendments. we passed our bill. the transportation, h.u.d. appropriations bill with a large bipartisan and yet the senate does nothing. that's why we're here today. the house of representatives, under the chairman's leadership, has moved bills, has done our work and the frustrating we have is that we don't have a counterpart on the other side of this great building to actually do their job so we can finally get resolution of these very difficult spending problems. mr. speaker, it is very important today that we move this bill. this is the best alternative. it would give us certainty for the rest of the year so we can address the big issues that are before us and this nation about spending, $16.5 trillion of
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national debt, about $1 trillion annual deficit that's got to be addressed. and by doing this it will give us the opportunity to maybe forge a large compromise, to forge a big deal that will actually set a course for this country. i think the reason all of us are here is because we have children. i have five grandchildren. i do this because i believe we need to change direction and this is the necessary step to do this. with that i ask everyone to support this bill and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from kentucky has one minute remaining. the gentlewoman from new york has a minute and a quarter remaining. mrs. lowey: i'm proud to yield the balance of my time to the distinguished member of the appropriations committee, ms. barbara lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for a minute and a quarter. ms. lee: let me thank my ranking member for yielding and for her tremendous leadership. first off, let me make this point. this bill actually this c.r.
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reaffirms sequestration and it could have been canceled. at a time when the pentagon enjoyed a decade of unchecked spending, this cushions the effects of sequestration. again, it reaffirms sequestration. at the same time, the big ig -- the bill ignores the impacts on the american public. these cuts would not only hurt low-income families first and hurts them the most, but also communities of color and the millions of americans who still are struggling to find a job. the sequester would impact my congressional district and my home state of california and every single household in america. it also underfines the vital program to protect the vital health, safety and promotes and develops our work force and educates the next generation. while all of us believe that it's important to keep the government functioning, governing through a continuing
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resolution is really no way to run the federal government. we need to rein in pentagon spending and spend our security dollars wisely on a proven program that can meet the day's national security needs. but we must begin nation building here at home. the american people deserve better than that. not only is this resolution a fiscal disaster. it is morally wrong. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from kentucky is recognized for one minute. mr. rogers: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rogers: mr. speaker, this is all about whether or not we shut down the government. this is a bill to keep the government operating. while we debate then how we deal with sequestration. this is not a sequestration bill. this is a bill to continue funding the government for the balance of the fiscal year and to help the military cope with the reconstructions so that our nation is adequately defended by our men and women in uniform. i urge the adoption of the
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continuing resolution. let's keep the government going. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: all time for debate on the bill has expired. pursuant to house resolution 99, the previous question is ordered on the bill, as amended. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. third reading. the clerk: a bill making appropriations for the department of defense, the department of veterans affairs, and other departments and agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2013, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> mr. speaker, i have a motion to recommit at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: is the gentleman opposed to the bill? >> i am opposed in the current firm. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: mr. peters of california moves to recommit the bill, h.r. 933, to the committee on appropriations with instructs to report the same back to the house forthith with the following amendment -- page 268, beginning on line 20,
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strike section 3002. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california is recognized for five minutes in support of the bill and there will be five minutes for a member opposed of the motion. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. peters: mr. speaker, this is the final amendment of the bill. it will not delay or kill the bill. if adopted the bill will proceed immediately to final passage as amended. this past november, san diegoans and people across the country sent a strong message to congress. they are tired of washington putting politics before people and i was honored to take my oath of office in january with a mission to be part of the solution. like probably every member of this freshman class, republican and democrat, i ran for office because i was tired of the gridlock, and i believe i could make a difference. i still do. when i was president of the san diego city council, it never would have occurred to me to not let my colleagues not vote on a measure because i disagreed with it.
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i docketed items for votes because that's how we worked through issues and moved ahead. but the reality of congress is that leadership has the ability to kill legislation before members are even allowed to vote on it. this congress has been in session for 61 days. during that time the majority has not offered or allowed even one vote on any proposal to repeal, amend or replace the sequester, a measure that was designed to be so nonsincecal that was supposed to not ever take effect. that means this congress, 20% whom are new members, has not had a chance to avoid the loss of at least 750,000 jobs. until we are allowed to vote on the sequester, those of us who think it's bad policy, who refer a regular budget process, can strike the sequestration language in this bill. since coming to congress, i have used my time home and here to emphasize how these budget decisions and nondecisions affect our constituents, large
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and small businesses and our national defense. people in san diego and across the country are counting on us to find a solution to the sequester so we can continue our recovery, our economic growth and we can continue to stay safe. i've explained two of the main drivers of san diego's economy are scientific research community and our military. in fiscal 2012, san diego firms received more than $130 million from the national science foundation and $850 million from the national institutes of health. it's these types of investments that have created hundreds of thousands of jobs, boosted our economy and allowed san diego to become the second largest life science cluster in the united states. a student pursuing a degree in sciences recently wrote to me to express the hope that we will find a way to fund n.i.h. project that would map the active human brain. that project would do for neuroscience what the human genome project did for genetics, but he worries if the united states is unable to fund
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projects like these that we will lose our place in scientific discoveries to countries like china, england or israel. the cuts are 8.2% which is equivalent to the cut of $2.5 billion. this could result in the loss of 33,000 research-related jobs in 2013 and a $.5 billion decrease in economic activity. i've also explained how devastating the sequester is to our military. just yesterday, an admiral testified at the house armed services committee about how our best and brightest who we need for cyberdefense and who are interested in cyberdefense are worried about pursuing their careers here because they don't know if they can count on congress to provide the support. and if san diego were almost one -- where almost one in four jobs are defense-related and 25% of the defense contractors are small businesses, ship shipbuilding and maintenance contracts have been canceled. nationwide, manufacturing companies that rely on defense,
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on defense funding could lose 223,000 jobs, and as we have heard in armed services, neglecting ship repairs and other maintenance and not making these investments not only leads to job losses but threatens our very readiness as a nation. i know protecting these areas of investment and ensuring economic recovery on growth are ideas that both democrats and republicans can agree on. now is the time to ignore party pressures and to do what's right for the american people. i urge my colleagues to vote yes to remove this language from the bill because we need to find solutions other than the sequester. let's turn the indiscriminant cuts of the sequester into targeted cuts that are part of a larger deficit reduction strategy, a strategy that cuts wasteful spending but doesn't cut critical infrastructure investments, stifle scientific innovation or compromise our national defense. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from kentucky rise? mr. rogers: mr. speaker, in
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opposition. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. rogers: the budget problems we face are unprecedent and the american public demands we address them. this continuing resolution is the first step in that process. the measure before us does four important things. one it takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table. two, it fulfills the agreements made in the budget control act. three, it protect ours troops in harm's way and four, it binds up our veteran's wounds. this is not the time, mr. speaker, to argue about sequestration. today is the day to keep the government running. the house has passed two separate responsible sequestration bills only to have them languish in the other
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body without action. we're still waiting, mr. speaker. the president must come to the table with a real proposal to solve the sequestration crisis instead of sending us the same old talking points and doing campaign trips around the country. the public to tire -- is tired of government putting politics ahead of people. now is the time to give our troops and veterans the resources they need, deserve and have earned. now is the time, mr. speaker, to govern. vote no on this motion, vote yes to keep the government operating. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. without objection, the previous question is ordered. the question is on the previous motion. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the noes have it. the -- the gentleman from
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california. >> i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen the yeas and nays are ordered. the chair will reduce to five minutes the time for any vote on passage of the bill. s that 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 187. the nays are 231. the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 188, the
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nays are 231. the motion is adopted. the motion is not adopted. the question is on passage of the bill. under clause 10 of rule 20, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 267. the nays are 151. the bill is passed. without objection the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.
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the house will be in order. the house will be in order. the house will be in order. for what purpose does the gentleman from mississippi seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that one the order of the house of january 3, 2013,
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regarding morning hour debate not apply tomorrow. and two, when the house adjourns on thursday, march 7, 2013, it adjourn to meet at 10:00 a.m. on monday, march 11, 2013. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. spoot ex's poiment, pursuant tcho clause 5-a, had-a of rule 10 in the order of the house of
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january 3, 2013, of the following members of the house to be available to serve on investigative subcommittees of the committee on ethics for the 113th congress. the clerk: mr. thornberry of texas. mr. forbes of virginia. mr. bishop of utah. mrs. blackburn of tennessee. mr. latta of ohio. mr. olson of texas. mr. gardner of colorado. mrs. roby of alabama. mr. messer of indiana. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that i might be here after consider the first sponsor of h.r. 313, a bill originally introduced by mrs. emerson of movement for the purposes among other things of adding co-sponsors, requesting printing pursuant to clause 7 of rule 12. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered.
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the chair will entertain requests for one-minute speeches. please take your conversations off of the floor. please take your conversations off of the floor. will members please clear the well.
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again please clear the well and take your conversations off of the floor. the house will have order. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. farr: to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. farr: mr. speaker, every day police officers place themselves in harm's way to protect our communities. it's that unselfish act that separates them from ordinary citizens. through their willingness to serve our brave policemen and women represent the best of our country. sadly last week in my district
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two fine officers, sergeant loren "butch" baker and detective elizabeth butler were killed in the line of duty in the small town of santa cruz, california. they are the first officers to be killed in the line of duty in the city's 137-year history. our prayers and sympathies are with the families and loved ones of these officers and i'd like the house to take a brief moment in silence in their memory. sergeant baker leaves behind a wife, two daughters, and a son who is a community service officer with the santa cruz police department. detective butler leaves behind her partner and two young sons. this is a horrible tragedy and i join with the residents of the central coast to mourn this loss and to pay our respects to these two fallen heroes. a moment of silence, thank you.
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thank you. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. thompson: to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, march 6 is the day we quote, spread the word to end the word, end quote. an ongoing effort by special olympics, best buddies, and many others to raise consciousness of society about the hurtful effects of the word retard and
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to encourage people to pledge to stop using the r word. respectful and encluesive language is essential to the dignity and humanity of people with intellectual disabilities. much of society does not realize the hurtful dehumanizing and exclusive effects of this word. this campaign is intended to engage schools, organizations, and communities to rally and pledge their support to promote the inclusion acceptance of people with develop dis-- developmental disabilities. today i pledge my support to prevent the r word in everyday speech. mr. speaker, i encourage all of my colleagues to spread the word to end the word. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute.
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mr. tonko: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to recognize four towns in the 20th district of new york that will celebrate their 225th anniversary tomorrow. they are the towns of still did the water, saratoga, half mon, and ballston. the place at stillwater is as early as 1600's and they were known to have a mill. originally part of albany county, half moon and saratoga were divided in 1771. in 1775 balls town was particularen. eventually in february of 1791, the new york state legislature created the county of saratoga. literal ballstown residents were deeply involved in the war. in half moon some of the original minutes in the first town meeting still exist. these towns are replete with history and rich in heritage. we do well to remember the foundation on which we are
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built. and to continue to add to the mosaic that is the capital region, the state of new york, and indeed our nation. congratulations on the celebration of the four towns' 225 years. may our future, their future be even brighter than our rich past. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to suspend the rules and address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. today the federal government spends $18 billion a year to operate more than 50 often duplicative work force education programs. even with that significant investment, roughly 20 million americans remain unor underemployed. businesses, too, are also struggling. struggling to find workers with the right technical skill set to fill vacant jobs on payroll.
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why the mismatch? why aren't work force education programs efficiently preparing capable job seekers for these careers? job seekers and ployers alike would be better served by more responsive, individualized, and modern work force development strategy. with my colleagues on the education and work force committee, i have introduced h.r. 803, the skills act. which will eliminate arbitrary roadblocks with an existing work force education program, prioritize well paying in demand industries, expand opportunities at community colleges, and most importantly treat all job seekers as individuals. let's pass the skills act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from
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pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, spreebling. mr. speaker, i rise today to urge the president to get serious about our fiscal -- about getting our fiscal house in order. while imperfect, the continuing resolution passed today is an important step in that direction. today's legislation provides the defense department and v.a. some relief from president obama's sequester by granting flexibility to prioritize spending, helping ensure the needs of our armed forces are met. . it is time for the senate to follow the lead and pass. instead of campaigning, president obama should finish his budget submission to congress which is already four weeks overdue. when mothers, fathers and small business owners face budget problems, they sit down around the kitchen or office table with pens, pencils and
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calculators and get to work. mr. rothfus: it is time for the president and our friends across the aisle to adopt the same commonsense practices of budgeting and prioritization that hardworking men and women in the private sector use every single day. thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. well, we passed a c.r. today. we've seen the sequester go through this week, unfortunately and so now here we are. we ask the president to not scare the country, he will make it as painful as possible, but do the positive things to make this work.
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we have to rein in spending in the united states. it has to be for our children, for our future. instead of threatening things such as guided tours that don't cost anything being part of the past, then why don't we move forward with things we can agree on that are going to be helpful for balancing our budget and taking this small step towards the future? yes, it's going to be painful but it doesn't have to be as much pain as we give directives to federal agencies to make it as painful as possible. it's a very disingenuous process and let's stay here and get this done right and find things we can make as far as reductions to help our country and not threaten it. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: are there any further requests for one-minute speeches? for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina seek recognition? ms. foxx: mr. speaker, i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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the ayes have it and the motion a adopted. accordingly,
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nomination for the c.i.a. i will speak until i can no longer speak. i will speak as long as it tak takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no american should be killed by a drone on american soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. that americans could be killed in a cafe in san francisco or in
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a restaurant in houston or at their home in bowling green, kentucky, is an abomination. it is something that should not and cannot be tolerated in our country. i don't rise to oppose john brennan's nomination simply for the person. i rise today for the principle. the principle is one that as americans we have fought long and hard for and to give up on that principle, to give up on the bill of rights, to give up on the fifth amendment protection that says that no person shall be held without due process, that no person shall be held for a capital offense without being indicted. this is a precious american
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our judges were impressed. you had many interviews. you also interviewed an unemployed man who really could illustrate the point of the effect that issue has on people in this country. can you share something you learned about unemployment about the entire process?
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>> i think i learned that is more than about earning money and everything that correlated with it. >> what is your favorite part of creating the documentary overall? >> i think the whole process, like editing and planning the whole thing out. >> great job, once again, and congratulations on being this year's grand prize winner. >> thank you. >> thank you, josh. >> and here's a little flavor of the documentary that josh stokes put together on unemployment. >> come to my hometown of madison, connecticut, and you might find it hard to believe that unemployment is one of the biggest problems facing america today. however, just a two-hour train ride will take you into the heart of the united states, downtown manhattan. population 1,600,000. 136,000 of which are unemployed. a staggering 8.5%. >> this is the worst economic recovery in 70 years.
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>> the jobless rate has recently leveled out at just over 8%. >> the united states has lost 42,000 factories since 2001. >> and our congratulations once again to josh stokes for his top prize in student cam this year and now for the high school and middle school entries. first prize at the high school level goes to alan shimp. he's in the 10th grade in midland. he chose his topic the national
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debt. his video was called free candy. alan will be receiving $3,000 in prize money this year. and first prize in middle school goes to a team that competed in their entry. and their topic was on public transportation. they attend farragut middle school and they are in knoxville, tennessee. and the comply at the time tours are austin hoag, nalin varma and parin. 75 winners and all of them are available for you to see on our website at studentcam.org. and in the month of april, we'll be showing the top 27 entries at 6:50 a.m. on the c-span network. >> here on c-span, we're back live on capitol hill waiting for the start of a news conference with republican lindsey graham of south carolina and democratic senator mark big itch of alaska. legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.
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their bill will look at mental illness and access to firearms. it's scheduled to get under way in about five minutes. up until then a new report from "variety" magazine on violence and entertainment. . host: on wednesday at this time we turn our spotlight to mags. today we look at variety magazine. they have a special report on violence and entertainment. here to talk about it with us from los angeles is variety magazine's chief national editor, tim gray. thank you so much for being here so early this morning. guest: i'm very happy. thank you. host: at the time this special report came out you were editor in chief so you started this special order -- special report with a message. why did "variety" jump in. and tell us what that is for those not connected with the hollywood scene. what is "variety"? guest: it's a trade paper for the entertainment industry. it was started in 1905 covering mostly vaudeville.
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over the years we have covered film, television, music, digital. all aspects of it. but it's not the celebrity coverage. it's not the red carpet coverage. it's the dollars and cents. when you asked about why we would talk about violence, variety's always had a need to talk about social awareness because people in the entertainment industry, they need to know what's going on in the world because that's who their audience is. that's who their readers are. i wrote a book, you just showed a coppy, called "variety" an illustrated history of the world. that's how "variety" covered world event, with the sippinging of titanic and arab spring and everything in between because the readers have to be aware of more than dollars and cents. we were having a meeting, talking about moving forward because we have a new owner, jay penske, who bought us in october. he is a great guy.
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this was a few days after the sandy hook shootings. we were -- had a lot of territory to cover. really important stuff. what are we doing with our website, the print version, what are we doing -- people were kind of distracted by sandy hill. a couple of the parents were talking about worrying about their kids at school. and jay had this light in his eyes and said let's do an issue on violence. just violence. and we'll cover it from every aspect of the we'll get everybody to weigh in. both sides of the issue. i mean he -- in 35 seconds evolved the whole issue. in january tied in with martin luther king day, we put out this issue. it's 80 pages. jay wanted no advertising because he said i don't want this to be a version venturement don't want people to think we are making money or capitalizing on this. we wanteded to get people in the industry to think because these are the people, our readers are people who are in the industry. they are responsible for content that goes around the world.
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and we wanted them to think, are you contributing to this violence? >> as you mentioned, tim gray, you pointed out the chairman and c.e.o. conceived of this issue. i'm reading here from your message at the beginning of this issue. more than 40 contributors from within the industry and outside. people on both sides of gun control, as well as the video game industry working on this issue. every question led to further questions about domestic violence, mental health, pharmaceuticals, censorship, and technology. many people were eager to weigh in. others were too timid to go public. mr. gray, what is the conversation -- has the conversation within been like in the industry in hollywood in terms of violence? is this a thing you feel is talked about a lot? guest: it is talked a lot about a lot. one of the goals of the issue was not to let people off the hook because entertainment is always attacked for its content. a lot of people say it's not our fault.
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it's gun control or it's mental health. i say in my introduction, there is an old 1960's phrase, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. maybe people in the entertainment industry cannot solely be blamed for the problem, but this issue was to ask the question, but are you contributing to that in any way? the american academy of child and adolescent psychiatry has these statistics that i find it -- >> all of that in our video library at c-span.org. we'll take you live back to i capitol hill now for a news conference. several senators on new gun legislation aimed at reducing gun violence. live coverage here on c-span. >> as to my dinner plans, we'll talk about that plater. i want to focus on this. this is a very important topic. to my colleagues, thank you very much. we are trying to fix a problem that most americans would just be astonished exists, but it
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does. and to the people in the charleston area, i have heard your voices and let me tell you right quickly the problem we are trying to fix. alice bowlen is a young lady that in 2005 threatened to kill the president, members of congress, and a police officer and she came across the canadian border into the united states. she had family in buford, south carolina. they did the investigation about the threat she made, and i will not read the threats because some of them are pretty tough, it resulted in her being arrested and indicted for threats against the president. she went before a federal judge, a psychiatric evaluation was ordered, any psychotic drugs were administered to make sure she was competent to stand trial. she went to an evaluation facility. the court declared her legally insane and a substantial risk to others in 2005. a federal court. she pled not guilty by reason of
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insanity and was ordered to undergo commitment proceedings for long-term care, of which she received. fast forward to 2013. in 2013 this young lady, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, previously pled not guilty by reason of sanity to threatening to kill the president of the united states, was admitted to a mental health treatment facility, found by a federal court to be a risk to herself and others, went to walderboro, south carolina, in february of this year and legally purchased a firearm. she submitted the background -- filled out the paperwork for a background check. according to a.t.f. authorities in south carolina, there was nothing illegal about her entries. she was sold the pistol. she went to ashley hall, a private school in charleston,
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south carolina, presented herself at the school, and used the gun trying to kill staff members. the gun did not fire, thank god. it was a semiautomatic 22 pistol. and the gun did not fire, but she legally bought a firearm after having been in federal court and found to be dangerous to herself and others. passed a background check. what did we learn? that our current system has major gaps in it. and this legislation, that's bipartisan, i want to thank senator begism and flake for helping fix this major flaw in the system. we have legislation that will make sure in the future people who find themselves in this legal category of having gone to a federal court and pled not guilty by reason of insanity, having been adjudged by a federal court to be dangerous to themselves and others, would no
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longer be able legally to pass a background check. there are a lot of emotion around the gun violence issue, but i am hopeful this is one area where we can find tremendous bipartisan support. to fix what i think is a gaping gap in our law and to the people of charleston, south carolina, i just thank god every day that the gun did not discharge. i will do everything i can with my colleagues to make sure that this mistake is fixed. in south carolina there is an evident at the state level to record all adjudications, finding someone mentally inpent -- incompetent, dangerous to themselves and others and entering that data into the federal system so people in south carolina in that category cannot buy a gun. there are 14,000 that fall into that category. we are trying to make advancements at home to fix that problem. with that i turn it over to senator begich. >> thank you for bringing this
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issue. i was familiar with it on some level, but senator graham clearly had incredible story to be told what happened in his home state and made very apparent how we needed to fix this. thank you senator graham for coming forward and working on this. as well as my two other colleagues senator pryor and senator flake. i was pleased to help negotiate part of the bill to strengthen the background check system while protecting both gun and mental health rights. currently the system as defined and detailed here has many holes in it. dangerous people can fall through the cracks, in part because the background check system lacks a clear definition of mentally incompetent. by creating a clear definition, this bill will help prevent individuals with dangerous mental health illness from buying guns. granted this is only part of the solution to reducing gun violence. but it's an important step forward. in addition, the bill would strengthen the rights of people with mental health illnesses. it provides a specific
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definition of mentally incompetent. the only -- that only includes individuals in voluntarily committed to treatment. this bill also creates a clear pathway to recovery within the system that changes our outdated and offensive terms such as mentally defective. when addressing the complicated issues of violence in our communities, we must neither stigmatize mental health nor abridge the second amendment rights. this bill is a step in the right direction. i would like to thank the n.r.a. as well as the national council on community health care and national alliance on mental illness to their contributions to their effort. we worked closely with both these groups to make sure we had a bill that made sense and could be implemented. it's an honor to be here. a part of a bipartisan effort. i want to echo what senator graham said. here's a bill that has strong bipartisan support. as you see here today. from a varied members of the
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senate. hopefully as we go on in this debate this is one of those bills that could move forward and pass the senate as well as the house and move on. it's clear that the language needs to be fixed. this is one way to do it. and also create some consistency in the law while at the same time protecting those who are experiencing mental illnesses. let me turn it over to senator flake now. >> thank you. i appreciate the opportunity to come out and support this legislation. in arizona after the shooting of gabby giffords, just a couple weeks ago, mark kelly and gabby came to capitol hill and talked about some of the shortcomings of our background check system in arizona. they pointed out that there are more than 120,000 mental health records. these are records people who have been adjudicated in the state level and those are not part of the ics system. something wrong with that is the case. this piece of legislation and perhaps some other things that we can do will allow individuals
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to be able to -- allow authorities to determine who is incapable and should not be in a position to get a weapon. i appreciate the time that's gone into this. particularly by the primary sponsors, and i'm glad to support it here today. >> well, after the the shootings in connecticut i spent a lot of time with people in arkansas asking them about gun issues. we certainly have people that call in and say, you need to do something. but also one of the things that we recognize in our state is the overwhelming majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens. and they are completely responsible gun owners. and they have those guns for various reasons.
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and it is something that in our state gun openership is something people take very, very seriously. as part of my discussions what i have done i have reached out to prosecutors and local police. i have even been to gun store owners to talk to them. of course many, many, many gun owners in the tate of -- in the state of arkansas. one of the things i keep hearing is let's enforce the law we have on the books. this is a way to do that. what we are doing we are taking an existing law and we are improving the integrity of the data base, of the back grouped check that currently exists. i hear that a lot that people say that the laws we have on the books can be improved. the system can be improved. there are holes, gaps. we have heard some of that already today. but i hear that around the state of arkansas. and from around the nation. i think that that -- this is -- what this is about today is try to improve something that we do have on the books. that we think will work and be
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effective. that will keep hands out -- will keep guns out of the hands of many, many people who should not have a gun. and so i want to thank my colleagues, all three of them, who i am standing with today, for their approach on this. one of the things i love about this effort is it's bipartisan. if we are going to get things done here in washington, we have to do it in a bipartisan way. whether you are liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, house, senate, doesn't matter. if you want to get it done in washington it needs to be done in a bipartisan way. that's a very important piece of this legislation. thank you. >> thank you. any questions? about this. >> senator, what are the agencies responsible for reporting that information to the database? is there a rule for the states to turn over whatever information they have? >> the regulation defining mentally incompetent doesn't pick up a not guilty by reason of insanity finding. so we are going to change the federal regulations. this happened in the federal
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system. to better define as senator begich said, the objective here, the objective is after you have had a competent court find that you're a danger to yourself and others, to capture that, there's due process and all of these systems, but in miss bolen's case, pleading not guilty by reason of insanity of trying to kill the president doesn't disqualify you under the current background system. i think 99.9% of the americans will say that's a mistake that needs to be fixed. we'll fix it. as to the state system, i think you made a good point. i don't know how many state adjudications there are in the united states for people who have been found by a competent court to be a danger to themselves and others that are not in the federal system for background check purposes. there's 14,000 in south carolina. my state legislature is trying to fix that problem by requiring our state law enforcement division to take all of these
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adjudications and put them into the federal system. i would urge every state to do that. just like jeff has said, we've got thousands of people out there who have had their day in different courts and are found to be dangers to themselves and others that the system doesn't know about when it comes to gun purchases. whatever differences we have, i think this is one area we should be able to rally around. >> senator, under the current law, would it be allowed to go to a gun show and buy a gun, this would not change it, are you still ok with leaving those loopholes in place? >> the question about regulating private sales at gun shows, what's a private sale? the one thing i'm not ever going to support is if i buy a shotgun from mark or if i give one to a family member, i'm not going to take a federal system that i -- and put that into the federal system. that's not practical. i think there's some work being done with senator coburn about someone taking private firearms
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to a public place to sell them as to whether or not they should go through the background check process. i think that is is a work in progress. i would just add this one fact. in 2010 there were 76,000 people who failed a background check. and there are only about 62 prosecutions. 19% of those who failed a whack ground -- background check in 2010, 13,862 people were fugitives from justice. not any were picked up. clearly we've got a long ways to go to improve the qurnt system -- current system. one, if you're dumb enough to buy a gun when you are on the lamb, we need to -- lam, we need to catch you. someone who is a fugitive from justice goes in to buy a gun, fills out the form, they pop up in the system as being a fugitive from justice, and nothing ever happens to them. i think that's a good place to start fixing that current system.
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>> limit of what you would support with background checks. >> i'll just speak for myself, tom coburn is a good friend. anything that tom coburn thinks is a good idea i will look at closely. if they can ever reach a bipartisan agreement about the problem you just indicated with background checks, i would be open to looking at their work product. but i would say this, as my colleagues have said, we have a background check system that really doesn't create any deterrent. so what if you fail a background check. it's against the law to fill these forms out. go look at the form, they are not confusing, it's against the law to fill these forms out. if you break the law and nothing happens to you, my concern is expanding the amount of paper that we do nothing with. it's not the deterrent we are looking for. >> if i can add one other part to that. that is what you see us doing today, we are finding a piece of
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the puzzle that you can get a fairly strong bipartisan support on. we don't want to get caught up in all the other issues. i will tell you as a former mayor we went after these issues of guns and drugs. we did something very simple. as this described about the people crazy enough to go buy and gun and think they can get away with it know they are a fugitive or felon, and not being prosecuted is unbelievable. as a former mayor what we had to deal with was felons who had guns. what we did is a simple thing. we actually hired two city prosecutors. we assigned them to the u.s. attorneys' office. one focus. guns, gangs, and drugs. i'll tell what you happened real quick. once you sentence someone on a gun case on a state court the odds are they'll serve maybe 60 days. in a federal court, it's five years. mandatory. when they started finding out we were putting people away for five years for a felon carrying
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a gun, it circulated quickly on the street and less and less gun offenses were occurring. it's a very tight community out there. if you look where these gun offenses occur over the whole country, thousands of gun cases, a sizable amount related to criminal activity guns, gangs, drugs. those types of activity. we entered in a very fast pace and tried to deal with this. what we are trying to do here we recognize there's inconsistent language as prove by the case -- proven by the case senator graham talked about. trying to clear up the language, get it simple, and have the nics system reference this type of case. statement be very -- at the same time be careful about stigmatizing those who have mental illness. one of the pooses here, legally disabled disability no longer applies to that person and they have been found to be recovered and gone through a process, then they are back into legal rights. we try to clarify something that's been very confusing.
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my point is you always have a lot of issues on the table over the next several weeks. we found one that we think solves a significant problem. bipartisan support. we believe has a great chance of moving forward through the system. >> let me make a point. if there is any item in this whole gun violence debate that can make a difference, a real difference, i think this is it. in other words, to make sure that we better integrate and strengthen the background check to include those who are not mentally able, or should not have guns in this way. when you think about it, if you're a criminal out to get a gun, you typically have criminal networks where you might not be able to get it at a gun show or private sale but you get it somewhere else or just check the background system and you aren't going to be caught anyway. it sounds like. in the case of people with
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mental health issues, often they are loners. people without these networks. they are those that if they are turned down it may delay them long enough where there might be some type of intervention or something that can stop them from the path they are on. i think when you look at the case of jared loughner, he had not been adjudicated, this would not have applied to him. those like him. it seems if you want to make a real difference, here's where you can make a real difference. >> two more questions. >> very often the issue of mental illness comes up as far as guns are concerned, you often have veterans groups who bring up the issue of ptsd whether recently or in the past. how does this law address that? >> this law captures decisions by courts. that have found someone to be a
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danger to themselves or others. in this case a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity was lost to the system. it will now be captured. people with mental health problems need to have due process. we are not going to take your second amendment rights away because somebody said something bad about you down the street. people spread rumors about your mental health. if you had an episode in the military where you are receiving treatment, i think the system needs to have a mechanism as to whether or not we can determine in a rational way that disability renders you unsafe to yourself and others. so this is a delicate balance. what we are trying to do is capture court decisions. when courts have rendered verdicts. there are over 14,000 people, apparently, in south carolina who have been adjudicated a danger to themselves and others by a competent court not in the system. that's what we are trying to fix.
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and your example, we just have to be careful how far we go. >> that part i just mentioned also is very critical in regards to making it clear that legally disabled no longer applies after the person is found to recover from mental illness. this is the piece of the equation you are referring to. the other piece is make sure it's clear, the way it used to be adjudicated as a mental defect. defective. now it is adjudicated mentally incompetent. that's an important distinction. we worked with the mental health community to get that distinction correctly done. >> snoort graham, senator leahy introduced a bill this week that would improve existing law with the straw purchases and trafficking. is that something you can support? >> i understand grassley and leahy -- yes, if we can define bipartisanship on all of us want to punish people who go out and
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purchase a gun through -- make straw purchases. it's already illegal. we are trying to tighten up the law. i would be willing to certainly look at what they have -- if grassley and leahy can agree, pretty good chance this thing may happen. >> how about you, senator pryor, we have heard a lot from lindsey graham about a loft things. the three of you are newer to this issue and i am acurious where you guys are on the -- i am curious where you guys are on the various rules out there. >> from my standpoint i'm not on the judiciary committee. so i won't have a chance to vote on t i'll look at them as they come through. like i said i think we ought to enforce the law we have on the books. you take that general approach then you start getting into air yause like straw purchases, cleaning up data bases, things like that, that are already there but maybe not be working very well right now. unlike senator graham, i look toward to seeing what the judiciary committee comes up with. i would hope that it would be bipartisan whatever it is.
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i have already come out and said that i'm opposed to senator feinstein's assault weapons ban. said that on the day after she filed it. nonetheless, we'll look at things as they are presented. i think right now from my standpoint because i'm not on the committee it's still relatively early in the process. they have a process they'll go through in the committee. i know you have a lot of senators working very hard to try to get something through the committee. and once that happens, we'll look at it and see. >> thank you.
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>> i want to give you one quick statement about the dinner that was supposed to be quiet and nobody knew about. just ask yourself this. you have been in this business most of -- a while. it's sad it makes news. if ronald reagan had dinner with members of the senate or bill clinton, i don't think anybody would have -- you would have a hard time getting your editors to report it. the fact that there is a lot of interest in a dinner between the president and a handful of republican senators is a pretty good statement about where we are at as a nation. i'm not blaming anybody because it takes both parties to get $16 trillion in gefment it's going to take both parties to get out. the president called senator mccain and myself a couple weeks ago and senator mccain was his opponent, as you-all know, in 2008. i see the president reaching out
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. everybody wants to be dr. phil about what he's doing. i'm assuming the president wants to talk seriously about the issues of the day. and if he just wants to have a dinner so we can get to know each other better, that's fine with me. how do you say no to the president of the united states who would like to have dinner with some of your colleagues? you don't. anybody who would do that in this business is in the wrong position. so when the president asked that i get together a group, i willingly and i was honored to try to do that. where this goes i don't know. i do believe what the president has been doing lately, getting off the campaign trail, back into the normal way of doing business up here of talking to icher, i can't think of any major accomplishment in america in the private or public sector where no one ever talked to each other. i want to compliment the president for reaching out. i think he's doing the right
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thing. we need to stop the campaign. election is over. but i do know where the country's going. if we don't fix entitlements, they are going to done sume all -- consume all the money we send to washington in the future. and medicare and social security will collapse. i think the president knows that also. i have publicly said that i'm willing to do more revenue if we can really bend the entitlement curve. i'm just speaking for myself. there are other senators who will be giving their views to the president tonight. they will probably try to talk sense into him and he'll try to talk sense into us. i'm encouraged by the president's outreach. i hope it bears fruit. but i know this, if we never talk to each other i know exactly what's going to happen. this country will fail. thank you. >> senator graham there toward the end talking about a dinner
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that the president is holding this evening in washington. not at the white house, with about a dozen senators or so to talk about the budget, to talk about tax proposals. that's happening this evening. the president back on capitol hill next week to meet with senators during their weekly party lunch. he'll also likely meet with house republican members as well. senators unveiling legislation, focusing on gun violence on the issue of mental illness and access to firearms of the the markup before senator judiciary committee on gun legislation still to come this week. over on the senate floor rand paul of kentucky has taken to the floor, took to the floor about three hours ago or so, at 11:45 eastern, and he has been talking about the nomination of john brennan to be c.i.a. director. he's protesting the obama administration's stance over whether the u.s. government can conduct targeted killings of suspected terrorists on u.s. soil. he's been speaking for over three hours. you can watch our live coverage
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on our companion network, c-span2, our capitol hill reporter says that senator mike lee of kentucky, there he is on the screen, he's stepping in to help out senator rand paul in his filibuster this afternoon. now the use of droughns was one of the main topics faced by attorney general eric holder during his testimony before the senate judiciary committee this morning. he also warned against the cuts that are going to happen to the f.b.i., a.t.f., u.s. marshals, and u.s. attorneys. today's over-- -- oversight hearing is about 2 1/2 hours. >> the attorney general is here. the session will be in order.
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mr. attorney general, if you'd join us, please. because the session has begun, nobody will stand and block people behind them with placards or otherwise. this is a meeting of the united states senate judiciary committee. everybody here is a guest of the senate. and we expect you to be aware of all your fellow guests and i realize some have differing views, but everybody has an opportunity to be here. and i would hope that nobody
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would be so arrogant that they would feel that they should have an ability to view and block the view of others. this week is the anniversary this is the anniversary of bloody sunday when people were attacked when trying to cross edmund pettus bridge. attorney general holder talked about living up to our yols and the -- our ideals and the power of our legal system. rights protect all americans, that's what the justice department and the attorney general are dedicated to doing. in 2009, the attorney general worked with us in congress to pass landmark hate crimes legislation to address crimes committed against americans because of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. and mr. attorney general, i'm glad to see the justice department is enforcing that
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law. this week, the president will sign historic legislation moving on the violence against women act and the trafficking victim pross text act to protect all victims of abuse. and i know the justice department will implement those laws. and the justice department is defending the protection prossvided by section 5 of the voting rights act to ensure that all americans have the right to vote and have their votes matter. this committee plays a key role in re-authorizing the voting rights act six years ago. after nearly 20 hearings, thousands of pages of testimony, before the house and senate judiciary committees, we found that modern day barriers to voting persist in our country. we passed the bill, president bush signed the current extension of the voting rights act in order to safeguard the fundamental rights of all
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americans. i remember talking to president bush the day of the signing and how proud he was to be signing it and that republicans and democrats had come together to craft that legislation because of its need. i commend the attorney general and f.b.i. director mueller and all those who work every day to keep americans safe. the followup attack to 9/11 that so many prodicted has not occurred, not in this president's watch. constant vigilance is part of the reason -- is part of the reason. and i think senator grassley will understand why we're going into specifics but i thank the attorney general for reaching out not only to me but to senator grassley. the department's success in disrupting threats to national security has been remarkable. i remain deeply troubled.
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the committee has not yet received the materials i requested regarding the legal rationale for the targeted killing of united states citizens overseas. the memoranda should have been provided to members of this committee. i'm glad at least to see it was provided to senator feinstein's intelligence committee but i think that some of the votes that will perhaps be cast against a nominee that's just come out of her committee will be because of the inability to get that memo here. it's our responsibility to use the tools of the government in accordance with our constitution. we have worked together to help keep americans safe from crime, to help crime victims rebuild their lives. we've worked to strengthen
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federal law enforcement, to support state and local law enforcement, crime rates have experienced a historic decline despite the struggling economy. i remember we saw employees, parole officers, members of the community coming together and bring up the fact that we have to all work together to lower crime. we've worked hard to update -- to fight fraud and wrongdoing. the dodd-frank wall street reform act. armed with these new tools the justice department has broken records for civil and criminal fraud recoveries it's increased the number of fraud prosecutions.
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the committee has also worked with the department to ensure the criminal justice system works as it should. this month marks the 50th anniversary of the supreme court decision, gideon vs. wainwright which affirmed that no person. the book on that, "gideon's trumpet" impressed me, i'm encouraged by the access to justice department but we need to do more to ensure justice for all. i was glad to see the initiative to incorporate many of the ideas of criminal justice and forensic science. i appreciate the attorney general joining me in recognizing the growing -- the mount problem of the growing prison population. it's having devastating consequences, the time of shrinking budgets all levels of
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government, also there's a human cost. we have to find more constructive ways to solve it. turning away from excesses and mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenders would be a good start. when the senate confirmed attorney general holder four years ago, the department of justice was reeling from scandal of mismanagement. since that time the credibility they have justice department among the american people, also very important in courtrooms throughout the country, has increased dramatically throughout the country. i'm glad to see the morale of the hardworking agents, prosecutors, professionals, many who have been there from republican and democratic administrations has improved considerably. again i apologize for the allergies and the voice. >> before i speak, could you inform us how you'll handle it when we vote? >> oh, senator grassley raised
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a good point. apparently we have a vote scheduled for, what, 10:30? i encourage us to obviously the questions will committee, i suggest for the sake of time we keep the committee meeting going and try to get out and vote as quickly as possible and come back as quickly as possible. >> i'll have to go over for short remarks on that issue before we vote on it. >> you and me both. go ahead. >> welcome, general holder. this hearing affords us the opportunity to clear the deck on many outstanding letters and questions that we have yet to receive from the department, example, we haven't received questioners in record from the last oversight hearing held nine months ago. we also have questions for the record from department officials that testified at various hearings that remain outstanding.
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in addition there are a number of inquiries that haven't received a response on important issues. i can't go through all of them but an example, i haven't received a response to a letter i sent last week on the impact of budget sequester. another letter outstanding on the failure to prosecute individuals at hsbc for money laundering. that one was sent in december. finally, i have an outstanding request related to investigation fast and furious, including one that will be outstanding for a year on march 9. it's unfortunate that we always have to start hearings with the same requests of the attorney general to respond to unanswered questions. that said, i have a number of topics that i want to discuss with the attorney general, including the latest letter to senator paul arguing in favor of the president'sable to use military force to kill american citizens on u.s. soil without due process of law.
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this letter is extremely concerning, not just in its content but coupled with classified memoranda that have been shared with just a few members of congress. it leave miss questions for americans about when the government can kill them this oversight hearing also comes on the heals of an extremely important hearing before house judiciary on the topic of targeted killing of americans jewsing -- using unmanned drones. this is an issue which chairman leahy already referred to and i have asked repeatedly the attorney general about. unfortunately, our letters on this matter have also gone unanswered. we have letters asking for classified memoranda targeting americans abroad produced to members of the select committee on intelligence but not members of the judiciary committee and the chairman also just made reference to that. a couple of weeks ago, at the
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committee executive business session held in the u.s. capitol building, i joined chairman leahy, senator feinstein and senator durbin in discussing the importance of the judiciary committee obtaining these documents as part of our legitimate oversight function. despite opinions of this administration and previous ones to the contrary, congress has a significant role to play in conducting oversight of national security matters. we have the right to ask for and receive classified information through appropriate channels to determine if the activities of the executive branch are appropriate. this committee has precedent of obtaining the most highly classified information within the government. example, in real re-authorizing and overseing the -- the fisa amendment act, we on tape and continue to obtain high hi classified information regarding the operation of this important function. similarly we obtain classified
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information during the re-authorization of the u.s.a. patriot act and as part of the oversight conducted by the committee reviewing the enhanced interrogation techniques and the role o.l.c. played in issuing those memorandum. in light of the march 4, 2013, letter to senator rand paul where the attorney general argued the president could authorize the military to use lethal force on u.s. soil in an effort to protect the u.s. from catastrophic attack, it is imperative we understand the operational boundaries for use of such force while the letter deals what is labeled, quote-unquote, extraordinary circumstances, american citizens have a right to understand when their life can be taken by their government, absent due process. providing these memorandum for review would go a long way toward complying with the president's original election
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process to have the most transparent administration ever. i'll move on to another issue, gun violence. tomorrow the committee begins markup. we've held three hearings on the topic over the past two months and twice heard from the justice department witnesses. both times the department testified we heard a reiteration of the department's support of a ban on semiautomatic rifles with certain cosmetic features deemed assault rifles. however, both time, when i asked whether the department had issued an official opinion, determining whether such a ban is constitutional under the second amendment in light of the hela case, i heard that no opinion has been issued. given that we are marking up the bills tomorrow, it would be good to hear if the attorney general that he will be releasing such an opinion today so members would have time to read it in advance of tomorrow's markup. on another subject, to discuss the department's continued
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failure to criminally prosecute those who commit fraud and wrongdoing at large financial firms, as a result, these companies settle for pennies on the dollar and the cost of these simply become the cost of doing business for these institution. it has led many to believe that financial institutions too big to fail by the treasury department are also too big to jail. what is even more disturbing is that while this distinction was mostly reserved for financial crimes a portion, a position i find flawed in its own regard, this policy appears to have seeped into other misconduct enforced by the department. example, december 2012, the department entered into a deferred protection agreement. d.p.a. with the bank hsbc. that's an a global bank, as you know. violating federal laws desiped to prevent drug lords and terrorist fwrs laundering money in the united states. let me repeat that a deferred
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prosecution agreement far company involved in money laundering for drug lords and terrorists. i sent a letter to the attorney general expressing my outrage at the d.p.a. on december 13, i asked why no employees, even those who turned off the anti-money laundering fillers -- filters, were prosecuted. further, senator brown of ohio and i sent a let for the january seeking the rationale for why no individuals at these large financial institutions were prosecuted. the response was woeful and failed to actually answer our questions leading taos question whether the department has something to hide. simply put, this is a leadership problem and one that needs to be fixed and fixed quickly. this will be a big part of any effort to confirm a new assistant attorney general for the criminal division. i also want to hear from the attorney general about a concerning new study issued by
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the government accountability office. i requested g.a.o. conduct this report to detail the use of department owned luxury jets by department executives for nonnation travel some of which included personal travel. they reimbursed the government for part of the trip but only the cost of regular coach fare. this is significantly less than the tens of thousands of dollars an hour these planes cost. that report found that between fiscal year 2007, which was obviously in the bush era, to fiscal year 2011, the department's executive nonmission travel for these luxury jets totaled 60 noveget flight time. these flights accounted for $11.4 million of taxpayer expenditures for nonmission travel and nobody has any argument with the use of these planes or the necessity of these planes, for mission travel. in light of sequester, and the general dire fiscal situation
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the federal government faces this travel was concerning. yet it was especially concerning given that the justification provided to congress in 2010 was for counterterrorism measures. while the attorney general and the f.b.i. director are now both required use travelers, meaning they are required by executive branch polity to -- policy to take government aircraft for even personal travel, g.a.o. found that until recently, the f.b.i. director had the discrergs to use commercial air service which he elected to do most of the time to save government funds this g.a.o. report raises a number of troubling questions especially in light of the proposed spending reductions because of the sequester, most pressing of which is should the executives at the department be using these planes for nonmission travel on a secret purchased for counterterrorism missions? i yield the floor, i have more to say but i've said enough.
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>> what we will do is, and again i would add that i realize some in the audience feel very committed to their positions and feel that -- apparently feel whatever their position is is far more important than anybody else who might be sitting here but i ask them not to block other people. this is an important open hearing. we welcome everybody whether they agree with us or not. i think you have a responsibility to the people who are also trying to -- and they also may feel that they have an important reason for being here. mr. attorney general, earlier this week i worked with senator collins in a bipartisan deprupe of senators to introduce a bill to address the problem of firearms trafficking and straw purchasing. we agree the current law needs to be strengthened and fixed to
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close the gaps to make -- that make it too easy for violent criminals, gangs, and drug trafficking organizations to obtain guns. do you agree that there's a need for specific statutes criminalizing gun trafficking and straw purchasing? >> yes, mr. chairman, there's no question that there's a need for a standalone trafficking bill. what we now have is a hodgepodge where people -- straw purchasers buy guns for other people and we are only abe to prosecute them for paper violations that are both inadequate and not likely to induce cooperation from people who we are charging. the trafficking bill is something we support. >> mr. attorney general, i realize, and i can't claim this because i'm new to the committee, i forgot to give you a chance to give your opening statement. please give your opening statement.
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>> chairman leahy, ranking member grassley, distinguished members of the committee, i really appreciate this opportunity to provide an overview of the zwrussties department's recent achievements and the accomplishments that my colleagues, the 116,000 dedicated men and women who serve in offices around the world have made possible. i look forward to working with you all to take our critical efforts to a new level. but before we begin this discussion, i must acknowledge the debt our nation owes to three correctional workers, employed by the federal bureau of prisons who over the last week and a half have made the ultimate sacrifice. officer eric williams, officer gregory vineski, and lieutenant balarossi. i'm determined to ensure that those responsible for the acts that led to the deaths of these three brave individuals are brought to justice.
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my colleagues and i are committed to honoring the service of these and other fallen officers by doing everything in our power to keep the women and men in law enforcement safe and to continue the work that became the cause of their lives. i'm proud to prereport the department has made tremendous progress in combating violent crime, battling financial fraud, upholding the civil rights of all, safeguarding the most vulnerable members of the society, and protecting the american people from terrorism and other national security threats. particularly since the horrific tragedy in december in newtown, connecticut, the urgency of our public safety efforts has come into sharp focus. earlier this year, i joined vice president biden and a number of my fellow cabinet members to develop commonsense recommendations to reduce gun violence, to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those prohibited from having them and making the neighborhoods and schools more secure. in january, president obama announced a comprehensive plan
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that includes a series of 23 executive actions that the justice department and other agencies are working to implement and a range of commonsense legislative proposals. i'm pleased to join the president, vice president, and countless american in calling on congress to enact legislation addressing gun violence including measures to require universal background checks to impose -- background checks, to impose tough penls on gun traffickers, to protect law enforcement officers by addressing armor piercing ammunition, to ban high capacity magazines and to ban military style assault weapons and to eliminate misguided restrictions that allow the impors -- importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age. i'm pleased to echo the president's call for the senate to confirm todd jones as the director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives, a critical justice department component that's been without a senate-confirmed
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head for six years. of course in addition to the administration's efforts to reduce gun violence, we remain focused on preventing gun, gang, and gun-fueled violence in all of its forms. we are determined to combat domestic violence as well. in strengthening this work, i applaud congress for passing a bipartisan re-authorization of the violence against women act, a landmark law that's transformed the way we respond to domestic violence and i'm pleased that this bill will finally close a loophole that left many native american women without adequate protection. the justice department looks forward to implementing this historic legislation. and we're committed to moving in a range of ways to become both smarter and tougher on crime and to remain aggressive and fair in our enforcement of federal laws. thanks to countless department employees and partners, we have achieved, i think, extraordinary results and nowhere is this clearer than our work to protect america's national security. since twipe, the department has brought cases and secured
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convictions against numerous terrorists. we have itent fid and disrupted multiple plots by foreign terrorist groups as well as homegrown extremists. article 3 works. the article 3 courts work. and we have worked to combat emerging national security threats such as sign rah -- cyberintrusions and cyberattacks directed against us but i bination states and nonstate actors including terrorist groups. last summer, the department created the national security cybersecurity specialist network to spearhead these efforts. it's comprised of prosecutors and other cyberspecialists across the country who will work with the f.b.i. and other partners across the country to find malicious cyberactivity and where appropriate to bring criminal prosecutions as part of the government-wide effort to deter cyberthreats to our national security. beyond this work, the department has taken significant steps to ensure robust enforcement of antitrust
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laws, to protect the environment, to crack down on tax fraud schemes and to address financial and health care fraud crimes. in cooperation with the department of health and human services and others over the last fiscal year alone, we secured a record $4.2 billion in recoveries related to health care fraud and abuse. as a commitment of to the receive justice on behalf of the victims of the deepwater horizon oil spill we secured a guilty plea and a criminal fine and penalties from b.p. in february the court aproved a settlement requiring transocean to pay $1.4 billion in fines and penalties and on february 5, we commenced trial of our civil claims against b.p. and others. through the president's financial fraud enforcement fask force we're working closely with federal, state and local authorities to take our fight against fraud targeting consumers, investors and homeowners to new heights. over the last three years,
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thanks to task force leaders and our partners we have filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. last month the department filed a civil suit against the credit rating agency stan card and poor seenging at least $5 billion in damages for alleged conduct that really goes to the thoferte recent economic crisis. we're also striving to boost the capacity of law enforcement allies and provide act ss to cools -- to tools training and equipment they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible and we're working with them to promote the highest standards of integrity across every agency, department, and sheriff's office. this commitment to integrity and to equal justice under law has also driven the department's civil rights division in its effort to address intimidation, bias, and discrimination from america's housing and lending markets, to
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our schools, workplaces, border areas but also to our voting booths. since 2009, the division has filed more criminal and civil rights cases than ever before including record numbers of human trafficking and police misconduct cases. we've also led efforts to implement the matthew shepard and james bird hate crimes act which improved our ability to achieve justice on behalf of americans targeted because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual orientation and we are working to achieve the justice that shaped our nation's past and must continue to determine our nation's future. in days ahead as congress considers ways to make fair and effective changes to america's immigration system, these same principle, i believe, must guide our efforts to strengthen our borders. these must continue to inform our actions as we adjudicate immigration cases, enforce existing laws and hold accountable employers who
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knowingly hire undocumented workers or engage in illegal and discriminatory business practices this morning, my colleagues and i stand ready to work with leaders from both parties to achieve lasting reform, to strengthen our ability to keep everyone in this country and our -- and especially our young people safe and move forward in protecting the american people and achieving the priorities we share. but i must note that our ability to complete this work and continue building upon the progress that i've just outlined will be severely hampered unless congress adopts a balanced deficit reduction plan and ends the untenable reductions that last week set in motion a move to cut over $1.6 billion, 9% of the department's budget in seven months' time. as we speak, these cuts are already having a significant negative impact not just on department employees but on programs that could directly imneakt safety of americans across the country. our capacity to respond to crimes, investigate
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wrongdoings, hold criminals accountable has been reduced and despite our best efforts to limit the impact of sequestration, unless congress quickly passes a balanced deficit reduction plan, the effects of these cuts on our entire justice system and on the american may be profound. i urge congressional leaders to act swiftly to restore the funding the department needs to fulfill its critical mission and keep our citizens safe. i thank you, mr. chairman, and i look forward to answering any of your questions. >> i apologize again for jumping in with the first question. i'm watching the clock because senator grassley and i have to go over and speak, and when i leave for that, senator feinstein will take the gavel. you mentioned the cuts, $1.6 billion across the board, obviously, i worry what that is going to do to critical grant programs and small rural states like vermont depend upon.
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i don't mean that to be parochial. but in smaller areas, rural areas, and every state, all 50 of our states have a disproportionate effect. i hope you'll be able to continue to work on programs like the cops program, the bulletproof vest partnership program, the victim assistance program. >> we will try to do the best we can. this is a $1.6 billion cut. it's 9% out of our budget over the course of seven months. it will take $100 million out of our grant making capacity. we'll try to minimize the harm and try to make sure that the mission that we have is not compromised but i have to say, you cannot take $1.6 billion out of our budget and expect us to be as effective as we once were. >> i'm not trying to put words in your mouth. is it safe to say this is going to affect national security?
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>> i fear that it would. we will try to jury rig things so we have agents where they ought to be. the reality is, and people should understand this, if these budget cuts stay in effect, f.b.i. agents, a.t.f. agents, people at b.o.p., bureau of prisons have to undergo furloughs. they're not going to be on the job. >> thank you. >> we've talked a thebt office of legal counsel memos on targets, i've been asking about that for some time. you and i have had discussions about this. i realize the decision is not entirely in your hands but it may be brought to a head with a subpoena from this office from this committee. in your letter to senator paul earlier this week, you left open the possibility of using lethal force against american
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citizens in extraordinary circumstance on u.s. soil. 9/11, pearl harbor. which is not specifically menged, drones. can you agree there's no scenario that would be appropriate to use an armed drone on u.s. soil to strike an american citizen? >> what i said in the letter was that the government has no intention to carry out any drone strikes in the united states. it's hard for me to imagine a situation in which that would occur. we have within the united states the ability to use our law enforcement capacity and as i laid out in a speech i gave at northwestern university with regard to the use of these kinds of lethal forces, one of the critical things is the feasibility of capture was difficult in foreign lands. afghanistan, pakistan, other parts of the mideast. that's not the same thing here in the united states where the possibility of capture is
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obviously enhanced. the use of drones is from my perspective something that is entirely hypothetical. what i tried to say in my letter to senator paul was exactly that. >> once we've seen the memo, i suspect, senator grassley and i may want to meet with you an discuss particular points. i'll leave it at that for a moment rather than going into, otherwise we have to go into classified hearings. last year, committee favorably reported my crime bill that had amendments offered by senators franklin and grassley that would prohibit prosecution based solely on terms of use agreement we were concerned that the department may inappropriately criminally prosecute relatively innocuous conduct such as violates the
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terms of use agreement. i think, and i supported the franken-grass lee -- grassley amendment. can the department review its demrines for computer fraud and abuse cases and consider revising the guidelines to prohibit prosecution based solely on conduct involving a terms of use agreement. >> i think we're always in the process of trying to look at how we are using the tools that congress has given us and to the extent that there are issues in enforcement, inappropriate uses, we want to correct that. as i said we constantly monitor that and we want to make sure we use those tools in appropriate ways and only ask for where that is absolutely needed. that is something we can look at. >> last november, voters in
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colorado and washington chose to legalize personal use up to one ounce of marijuana. to enact licensing plans for cultivation and distribution of the drug. last year i asked director gurlowski of the office of national drug control policy how the administration would prioritize resources and determine policy in light of the choices made by the voters in colorado and washington, knowing that there will be other states that do the same thing. are you prepared to announce the department's response? >> i have had the opportunity to meet with leadership from colorado and washington, governors, we had, i think, a good communication. we are in the administration considering what the federal government's response to those new statutes will be. i expect that we will have an ability to announce what our
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policy is going to be relatively soon. >> i would think that this is simply an editorial comment but if you're going to have to, because of budget cuts, prioritizing on matters, i would suggest that more serious things -- there are more serious things than minor possession of marijuana but that's a personal view. now, i know senator grassley agrees with the fact that you and several other cabinet secretaries are prohibited from flying commercially for security reasons. a recent g.a.o. report confirms that counterterrorism and other mission travel always takes precedence over other official travel by you, director mueller, and previous attorneys general and you and director mueller have complied with reimbursement requirements in all cases. just so i understand what we talked about, the number used,
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is it true your predecessor used the aircraft for personal travel twice as often as you have? >> that is true as we looked at the numbers. i took a toe toofl 27 trips categorized as personal. he took a total of, my predecessor took a total of 54. one thing i want to emphasize is that these planes are always used first and foremost for mission purposes and if you combine mission purposes as the g.a.o. defined it as well as official travel, the planes are used 93% of the time for those two purposes. when i say official travel, that would include trips -- trips i made to afghanistan, to guantanamo, to haiti to talk to caribbean heads of state to ottawa in order to talk about our border issues with our canadian counterparts. so this notion that the planes are somehow being misused is totally belied by the facts if
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they are fairly view. >> you mentioned haiti. i was in haiti right after your trip, on a government plane, with a number of both republican and democratic members of congress. and i understand the reasons why they used it there too. i'm giving the gavel to senator feinstein and recognize senator grassley. >> i'm going to the floor. >> ok, who is next? >> good morning, general holder. >> good morning. >> i wrote you a letter on january 18, 2013, about the prosecution of aaron schwartz, who was prosecuted by the u.s. attorney's office in massachusetts for allegedly breaking into the computer networks at m.i.t. and downloading without authorization thousands of academic articles from a
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subscription service. he was charged with crimes that would have carried a penalty of up to 35 years in prison, a million dollar fine, and a superseding indictment would have uped the prison time and fines. as i said, i wrote a letter asking about that prosecution and raising questions of prosecutorial zeal and i would say even misconduct. have you looked into that particular matter and reached any conclusions? >> yeah. let me first say that mr. schwartz's death was a tragedy my sympathy goes out to his family and friends, those who were close to him. it's a terrible los. he was obviously a very bright young man and i think had a good future in front of him. as i talk to the people who looked into this matter, these news reports about what he was actually facing is not consistent with what the interaction was between the
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government and mr. schwartz. an offer, a plea offer was made to him of three months before the indictment. this case could have been resolved with a plea of three months. after he -- the indictment, an offer was made he could plead and serve four months. etch even after that, a plea offer was made of a range from zero to six months that he would be able to argue for a probationary sentence, the government would be able to argue for up to a period of six months. there was never an intention for him to go to jail for longer than a three, four, potentially five-month range. that's what the government said specifically to mr. schwartz. those offers were rejected. >> and he committed suicide, correct? >> he did. >> the subscription service didn't support the prosecution. does it strike you as odd that the government would indict someone for crimes that would carry penalties of up a to 35 years in prison and million dollar fines and then offer him
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a three or four-month prison sentence? >> well, i think that's a good use of prosecute oirl discretion to look -- prosecutorial discretion to fashion a sentence consistent with what the nature of the conduct was. i think that what those prosecutors did in offering three, four, zero to six, was consistent with that conduct. >> you don't consider this a case of prosecutorial overreach or misconduct? >> no, i don't look so much at what was charged as what was offered in terms of how the case could be resolved. >> i would suggest if you're an individual american citizen and looking at criminal charges being brought by the united states government with all of the vast resources available to the government, it strikes me as disproportionate and one that is basically being used inappropriately to try to bully someone into pleading guilty to
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something that strikes me as rather minor. but i would appreciate it if you would respond to my let for the writing, dated january 18, i know senator grass lee listed a numb of other letters that your department has not responded to but would you commit to responding to that letter and answering the questions in writing? >> we'll get responses to that letter, i think the letter will probably encapsulate what i just said in materials of how we sthride case and how we thought it would be appropriately resolved. >> i want to make sure you did a thorough investigation into the matter and you're not just speaking off the cuff. >> it's not off the cuff. >> souf done a thorough investigation of this matter? >> i think a good examination has been done, the prosecutors were talked to, the u.s. attorney was talked to and people in the department were responsible for that -- those inquiries. >> the reason, one of the reasons i'm skeptical is because, of course, you're well
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aware with the prosecution of senator ted stevens and you yourself decided that the prosecutors in that case overreached, withheld information that would have been exculpatory, that should have been divulged under the rules of ethics and i'm concerned that average citizens, if you can call them that, like aaron schwartz, people who don't have status or power perhaps in dealing with the federal government could be bullied and obviously we've seen even members of the united states senate like ted stevens have been on the receiving end of prosecutorial misconduct and that was a conclusion you yourself reached in that case, correct? >> well, yeah. i think the level, what we did in that case, in stevens case was not consistent with the high standards that i expect of people who work in the justice department. i think that's also an example, as well as the numbers that i've shared with you with regard to mr. schwartz's case, of how this department conducts
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itself and where we make mistakes, what we do to correct them. as long as i'm attorney general and as long as this information is prouth to my attention, i will not hesitate to do what i did for instance in the stevens matter. >> i respect that. unfortunately, in both cases, both of these men are dead and it's hard to make recompense to someone after they've -- after they're dead. i know we're going to be taking up some various gun legislation, you've spoken to that some. i want to ask you, first of all, i have a copy of a speech you gave to the women's national democratic club, january 30, 1995, and i want to quote it and ask you if this is a correct quote. you said it's not enough to simply have a catchy add on monday and only do it every monday. we need to do this every week and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.
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is that a correct quote? >> that part is but it's taken out of context, what i was talking about was young black men who have all kinds of images thrown at them, at that time, washington, d.c. was the murder capital of the country. i was talking about young black guys who see movies, television stuff that demrorfis the use of guns, possession of guns, what i said is we need to counter those images and i used the term brainwash, to get these young black guys to think differently about the possession and use of guns. >> don't you think that an aggressive prosecution of gun crimes is part of the answer as well? serves as a detorrent using firearms and committing other crimes? >> sure, absolutely. but i also think that preventing people from acquiring guns, using them in-- in inappropriate way, i was a superior cofert judge in washington, d.c., during that time, i saw an ocean of young black men who should have been the future of this community go
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to jail because they had guns, used them inappropriately, killed people and i thought in that speech and what i tried to do as u.s. attorney and as a judge when i was here in the local courts was come up with ways to talk to young guys and try to convince them that acquiring guns and using them to sell drugs, rob people, was just wrong, inappropriate. a pretchings thing. i think you're right, in in addition -- in addition to strongly prosecuting them, when i was a judge, i sent people away for possession and use of guns for extended periods of time. i didn't hesitate to do that as a judge. >> let me just ask, in conclusion, f.b.i. figures reveal from 2010 that more than 76,000 people attempting to buy guns failed background checks. we don't know how many of these people actually committed crimes. we do know the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms referred 62 of the cases to federal prosecutors and
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prosecutors declined nearly a third of those, reaching a plea of guilty or a guilty verdict in 13 cases. out of 76,000 failed background checks, your department pursued a guilty plea or guilty verdict in just 13 cases. how is that consistent with making the crime, the deterrence if the likelihood of prosecution is so light? >> the primary purpose of the background check system is to make sure people who don't -- who shouldn't have guns don't get them. 1.5 million people have been turned awhat since 1991. of all the prosecutions we bring, 1/7 of them are in fact gun prosecutions. all those cases where people are denied the opportunity to get a gun are reviewed for prosecution purposes and determinations made as to whether or not they should be prosecuted. one of the things i want to look at, and i'll be talking to u.s. attorneys about, is
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whether or not we need to bring more of those cases. if we are going to be really cracking down on gun crime, the number, i think, you know, there are reasonable expectations as to why we have those numbers. i want to make certain we are prosecuting the people we should who have been denied a gun, failing one of these instant background check. >> a crime not prosecuted doesn't produce deterrence, would you agree with that? >> well, we have limited resources and have to figure out where to use the limited resources. one has to look at why the gun was denied and make a determination whether or not we should use those limited resources to bring a prosecution against that person. >> you didn't answer my question. a crime not prosecuted doesn't produce the kind of deterrence we would want to prevent other people from committing those similar crimes. >> senator, i've been very, three minutes and 23 seconds. >> you've been very indulgent
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but in all respect to attorney general holder he didn't answer my question and i'd like a simple answer to the question. >> well, yeah, deterrence comes in a number of forms. you know, some people are deterred by the prospect of jail, other people are deterred by the prospect of having spilled out a -- filled out a form and having been turned down. it depends on the individual and those are the kinds of factors we take into account when making determinations as to whether or not a prosecution should appropriately be brought. >> i want to say welcome, attorney general holder, and thank you for your service. i think it's very aparent you have a very hard job in a hard time. i just wanted to say something to you as chairman of the intelligence committee on the office of legal counsel opinions. our job is vigorous oversight of the intelligence community. we cannot do this unless we see the legal underpinnings for certain kinds of activities,
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particularly clandestine activities. i believe the committee is fully united on that point, both sides. so i believe that the administration is really going to have to come to terms with this and i would like to ask you to spend some time and take a good look at it. i've just been sitting here reading the white paper that you sent to this committee on the subject of lawfulness of a lethal operation directed against a u.s. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al qaeda or an associated force, this is committee confidential. but it's not classified. and the fact of the matter is, it's a 16-page, very thoughtful, very impressive opinion and yet it can't go in to the public domain. i can't ask you about it, even
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here, about some of the factors of this opinion and i think that's going to -- i think that's a mistake. i think the world we're living in is so different and so imprecise that the legal underpinnings for action really are important. secondly, it's one thing for a president to ask for a legal opinion, prior to something that's ongoing, maybe even ongoing, seems to me that afterwards, we should have the opportunity to assess the legality of that and if necessary, if it isn't legal, be able to clarify law, change law, do whatever a constitutional, legislative body does. so i would just ask you to take a look at this. it's -- we have now of -- well, i just got a note. it's been released now because
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it was leaked first. >> that's one way of getting it out. >> yeah, i mean. i think that gives you an idea of the situation that we're in. from an intelligence point of view, it is absolutely vital. and then i understand you get down to different committees. let's say the predator is taken out of the jurisdiction of intelligence and put in the military. that transfers the jurisdiction to armed forces. let's say it's used in some way that brings the jurisdiction to this committee. so i think we now have to look at that arena and make some decisions as to the administration being more forthcoming with legal advice that underpins law making. please don't. would you agree? >> i have to say that i have
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heard you, the president has heard you, and others who have raised this concern on both sides of the aisle and i think that what you'll hear from the president in a relatively short period of time is, i don't want to preempt this, but we've talked about the need for greater transparency in what we share, what we talk about, because i'm confident that if the american people had access to, for instance, some of the stuff cannot be shared, i understand that, but at least if the representatives of the american people had the ability, member of the intelligence committee have had, to see some of the o.l.c. opinions, there would be a greater degree of comfort that people would have to understand that this government does these things reluctantly but in conformity with international law work domestic law and with our values as the american people. so i think there is going to be a greater effort at transparency.
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a number of steps are going to be taken, i expect you'll hear the president speaking about this. >> yes, i think so. right now, we have someone exercising a hold on john brennan who said, you know, what we're talking about is you're eating dinner in your house, you're eating at a cafe and you're walking down the road and this country -- in this country and can be targeted for elimination. i do not believe that's true. i do not believe it's correct. i think it really, you know, it's one thing after a major attack like 9/11 where we saw brave people take down a plane because they had heard that these planes were being crashed into buildings and there was a likelihood that this one was going to crash into the united states capitol so people on the plane took it down. then there was discussion as to whether a president should order a plane taken down with american citizens if it was
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going to jeopardize a greater number of american citizens. i think this -- to some extent it's something we have to grapple with in a legal way as well. but in reading the opinions that i have just read, i believe they're very sound opinions. i've also read the opinions from the bush administration, one of which was withdrawn by the bush administration and two of which were withdrawn by the obama administration. they are not, in my view, good opinions. they were opinions designed to provide whatever the president or the administration was asking for. so i think this is where transparency is important, that years after, we have an opportunity to look and make judgments as to whether our democracy and our values are being operated by the executive in a proper manner. >> i mean, as i said, i think
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there's a greater need for transparency, a greater need for appropriately sharing information, and we are struggling with how to do that but it is something the president feels strongly about and as i said over the next few months, i think you'll see an effort on the part of the administration to be more transparent. >> thank you. senator cruz is next on my list and then senator whitehouse. >> thank you, senator feinstein. general holder, thank you for being here this morning. >> good morning. >> i'd like to address three areas and i'd like to start with the topic you were just discussing the topic of drones. in your response to senator paul yesterday you suggested there may well be circumstances in which it is permissible to use drones to target a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil. i'd like to explore those
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circumstances and in particular you pointed to two, you pointed to pearl harbor and 9/11, both of which were extreme military attacks on the homeland. i want to ask a more specific question. if an individual is sitting quietly at a cafe in the united states, in your legal judgment does the constitution allow a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil to be killed by a drone? >> for sitting in a cafe and having a cup of coffee? >> if that individual is not posing an imminent and immediate threat of death or bodily harm, does the constitution allow a drone to kill that individual? >> on the basis of what you said, i don't think you can arrest that person. >> the person is suspected to be a terrorist, you have abundant evidence he's a terrorist, he's involved in terrorist plots but at the moment he's not pointing a bazooka at the pentagon, he's
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sitting in a cafe. overseas the united states uses drone to take out people walking down a pathway. if the u.s. citizen, on u.s. soil, is not posing an immediate threat to life or bodily harm does the constitution allow a drone to kill that citizen? >> i would not think that would be an appropriate use of any kind of lethal force. we would deal with that in the way we typically deal -- >> my question wasn't about appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion. it was a simple legal question. does the constitution allow a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil who doesn't pose an imminent threat to be killed by the u.s. government? >> i do not believe -- again you have to have all the fact bus on the facts you have given me and this is a hypothetical i would not think in that situation the use of a drone or lethal force would be appropriate because -- >> general holder, i have to tell you i find it remarkable
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that in that hypothetical which is deliberately very simple you are unable to give a simple one word, one syllable answer, no. i think it is unequivocal that if the u.s. government were to use a drone to take the life of a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil and that individual did not pose an imminent threat, that that would be a deprivation of life without -- >> perhaps i have not been clear. i said the use of lethal force, drones, guns, or whatever else, would not be appropriate in that circumstance. >> you keep saying appropriate my question isn't about propriety. my question is about whether something is constitutional or not. as attorney general you're the chief legal officer of the united states. do you have a legal judgment on whether it would be constitutional to kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil in those circumstances. >> a person who is not engaged, as you described, the way in
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which you have the scribed it this person sitting at a cafe not doing anything imminently the use of lethal force would not be appropriate, would not be something that tissue >> i find it remarkable you still will not give an opinion on the constitutionality. let me move on. we've gone round and round. >> translate my appropriate to no. i thought i was saying no. >> then i am glad. after much gymnastics i am very glad to hear that it is the opinion of the department of justice it would be unconstitutional to kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil if that individual did not pose an imminent threat that statement has not been easily forthcoming. i wish you had given that statement in response to senator paul's letter scu asking you it. i point out that this week i will be introducing legislation in the senate to make clear that the u.s. government cannot kill a u.s. citizen on u.s. soil absent an imminent threat and i hope based on that representation that the department will support that
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legislation. >> that's totally consistent with the letter i sent to senator paul. i talked about 9/11 and pearl harbor, those are the instances where i said it might be possibly be considered but that other than that we would use our normal law enforcement authority in order to resolve situations along those lines and then use the normal things that you do when you try to decide if cops can shoot somebody. >> i would like to move on to a second topic. which is what many perceive as the politicized enforcement of the law at the department of justice. . the department of justice declined to enforce voting discrimination laws against members of the black panther party. in 2011, the department of justice released a statement saying that the department would no longer defend the constitutionality of the defense of marriage act, which passed with overwhelming both houses of
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congress and signed into law. last year in 2012, the department of homeland security announced that it would no longer enforce our nation's immigration laws against individuals designated by the president. my question to you is are there any other laws passed by this congress that the department of justice does not intend to enforce? >> it is the tradition of the department to always enforce laws where there is a reasonable basis to argue for the enforcement of those laws. i have sent memos or letters to the speaker of the house where we have declined to support laws and enforce laws that congress has passed for a variety of reasons. with regard to doma where we declined to defend that statute that courts subsequently have agreed with us applying that standard of heightened security
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that in fact, doma was unconstitutional. >> there was a bit of a slight of hand. you said courts goode on the merits of the issue, that is different from saying there is no reasonable basis to defend the statute. surely it's not the department's position every case that the department loses a case i will will not defend the statute. what process does the department engage in to determine which federal laws it will follow and which it will not? >> there is a presumption that we will apply and support any law that congress passes. it is the rare instance that we will not. doma was one of those and there wasn't a reasonable basis to defend the statute applying the heightened scrutiny statute. >> let me very briefly address one other area. many attention has focused on the fast and furious program and
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the tragic consequences of that. was the white house involved in any way whatsoever indecision making concerning fast and furious? >> no. >> given that, last year, my understanding is you asserted executive privilege against handing over documents concerning fast and furious. executive privilege protects communications and advice with the president. if the white house was not involved executive privilege does not apply to those documents. if executive privilege does apply to those documents, it necessarily implies that the white house and the president personally was involved. which of the two is it? >> you are cutting too fine a line. the president, the white house is not involved in the operational component of fast and furious. there were conversations between the justice department and the white house about the operation
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after all of the operative facts had occurred, after all of the cover -- controversial actions were taken and got into the situation where we were talking about the congressional investigation of fast and furious, there were communications between the white house and justice department. >> did i understand you correctly -- my time has expired. is it your position that executive privilege only applies after the details of fast and furious became public and subsequent communications but no executive privilege that is applicable before it becoming public because as you said, the white house was not involved in any way, shape or form? >> the executive privilege protects the white house and executive branch agency and to my knowledge, there are no communications that deal with the operational components of fast and furious between the white house and justice department.
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>> so the executive privilege does not apply? >> there is nothing there for executive privilege to apply to. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you for the initial statement that the administration has put it under a separation of powers framework. there is a lot of work ahead of us to work out the details but it's an important for the administration. and thank you for your executive order which was a vital step and remain disappointed that we didn't pass legislation to address this pressing issue. senator graham and i are continuing to work on supplementing the executive order with bipartisan legislation that i think is vital for our country. let me chime in on the question of getting the response to the
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request for the record that was made last june when you were last here and which we still have no response to. i understand that it's tied to o.m.b. but presumably they could put it into the calculation of when letters are prepared for you. >> not only o.m.b. there is something within the department where we need to be more responsive. but executive branch agencies, equity in these responses. it's not strictly o.m.b. >> pretty long run for getting an answer. >> i agree with that. >> we are looking forward to having a hearing on the resources of the department and the strategy of the department on cyber prosecutions and on the actions against -- the case was
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good and i understand there have been awards given to the participants, which i commend you for. but i would have it would have been a model for a great number of other type of legal efforts to clean them out of the web and hasn't been pursued as a model or strategy. and to my knowledge, there hasn't been a single cyber prosecution brought against a hacker like we know china is doing that comes in purely through the web, raids an american company for its intellectual property, takes the property out and uses it as industrial espionage. i know there have been cases made for espionage and sometimes involve cyber, but there has been a tangible link of some kind, somebody with the cd in
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their pocket leaving the factory. so i think anybody who has been in the trenches understands how immensely complicated and resource-intensive these cases are and at a time in diminishing budgets it's time to focus the real light to focus on how important these cases are and would you be willing to work with us and send appropriate d.o.j. officials to a hearing. >> that could be particularly useful as we try to explain the issues that we confront in bringing these cases, the resource issues that we have. but also to hear suggestions. with regard to how we might do these cases so i think that kind of interaction would be something we will send witnesses to. >> appreciate it. similarly, we are looking at the
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enforcement of campaign finance laws. there appears to be a considerable zrep answery between in -- zrepssi, between applications made to the i.r.s. status and the identity once it's out acting in that political world and we would like to look further into that and would ask cooperation from the department from a witness at a hearing to that question. >> we will be glad to participate in that we have as one of our enforcement responsibilities the campaign finance laws. there is an election crime section within the public integrity section. this is something that we do. and we would be more than glad to interact with you and have a hearing in that regard.
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>> good. and the last thing that i'll raise, the margolis memorandum needs to be retracted by the department. it is a continuing burr under my saddle that we could expect of the members of the department of justice, particularly those at the office of legal counsel who are often the best and the brightest that the legal profession has. they are on to a supreme court seat and immensely talented people and the notion that they don't have to meet the same stands of diligence and candor that an evidence lawyer does hustling into the courthouse in providence with five files under his arm is to me something that
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i'm just going to continue to press on until that gets resolved. i'll mention that to you once again now and we'll continue to follow up. i bring it up every time from a person from the department of justice comes to see me and whenever candidates for nomination -- for confirmation come to see me. i know it brought a resolution to an unhappy period in the department but it did so by cutting acorn that should not have been cut. and i think the standards should be higher, not lower. i appreciate very much your service to our country, as former member of the department of justice. i look at real dismay what is happening to it prior to your tenure. and i continue to express pride and enthusiasm and increasing
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morale as the leadership you have provided. >> very kind. you and i can have a conversation about the margolis theory memo. you and i can have a more detailed conversation about that to the extent you have those issues. i would like to hear what they are. >> thank you very much, senator whitehouse. senator flake is not here. senator klobuchar is not here. senator graham is here. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. we have been talking about the war on terror ever since you have been doing this job. and i want to congratulate you and the president. i think you have thought hard and long under difficult circumstances. i want to applaud your efforts
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with the drone program. it has helped us in afghanistan and pakistan and i just believe this is a tactical tool that this president should be using and using it responsibly. is al qaeda actively involved recruiting american citizens to their cause? >> i certainly know of efforts that al qaeda has made. >> we don't disclose that the al qaeda organization is actively involved in seeking american citizens' support. in every war we have had, unfortunately americans have sided with the enemy, few in number. we had american citizens helping the germans who tried to blow up infrastructure in the united states. >> those cases were tried right down the hall from my office. >> it's a long standing
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proposition that an american citizen who joins the forces of our enemies can be considered an enemy combatant, do you agree with that? >> yes. >> the point i'm trying to make, hypothetically, if there are patriot missile batteries around this capitol and other key governmental infrastructures to keep the capitol from an attack, it would be lawful for those batteries to launch, is that correct? >> to launch -- >> against the threat? if there was intelligence that an airplane was coming towards the capitol or the white house that had been hijacked, it would be ok for our military to act, wouldn't it? >> yes. >> it would be an imminent threat and the military has the legal authority under the constitution and the authorization to use military force to strike back against al qaeda, is that correct?
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>> yes. >> when we say congress gave every administration the authorization to use military force against al qaeda, we didn't exempt the homeland, did we? >> no. >> wouldn't it be crazy to exempt the homeland and say for some reason the military can't defend here? >> that's right. the question is what forces do we use. >> and i totally agree with you that the likelihood of capture is very high in america and we have a lot of law enforcement agencies available and that we would put them out front, but certainly most law enforcement agencies don't have patriot missile batteries. so that's a good example of where the military can provide capacity to protect the homeland against a terrorist act that law enforcement can't. >> that would be the real case, but in the letter that i sint to senator paul is one of the reasons i referenced september
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11. >> let's go back in time. what we would all give to have those patriot missile batteries available on september 10, 2001 in new york city and washington? it would have meant we would have lost a plain load of american citizens but saved thousands more. that's the world in which we live in. and i want to stand by you and the president to make sure that we don't criminalize the war and the commander in chief continues to have the authority to protect us all and i've got a lot of my colleagues who are well meaning, but there is only one commander in chief in our constitution, do you agree with that? >> >> that's true. one of the most difficult decisions to give that order. >> and i want you to know from senator graham's point of view
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that you have the authority and authorization to use military force to take such action and i know you will if put in that position. about where this war is going, we are winding down afghanistan, do you think the al qaeda threat is over? >> no. the al qaeda threat as we knew it traditionally focused in pakistan, core al qaeda has been greatly weakened, but there are nodes in different places on the arabian peninsula and north africa. >> what would your message to any american citizen thinking of col baiting with al qaeda at home or abroad, what would you say to them? >> if you align yourself with al qaeda, you are taking arms against your nation and you then will be subject to the full weight of the american military.
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>> and law enforcement community. >> and law enforcement. whatever tools we have. >> i want to say i believe article 3 courts have a robust role on the war on terror and i want to say that military commissions have their place also, do you agree with that statement? >> sure. >> let's turn to another topic where we probably won't agree. this committee will be taking up legislation about banning assault weapons. are you familiar with the ar-15? >> i'm familiar with it, yes. >> just generally speaking. >> i might have shot one at the f.b.i. academy. >> you are aware over four million have been purchased by american citizens? >> it's a very popular weapon. >> any weapon can be dangerous, i will be the first to admit that. can you imagine a circumstance where the ar-15 would be a better defense weapon than a double-barrel shotgun.
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where you have a natural disaster or some catastrophic event and those things do happen and law and order breaks down because the police can't travel, there is no communication and there are armed gangs running around neighborhoods, can you envision a situation where if your home happens to be in the crosshairs of this group, that it might be better to have an ar-15 than a double-barrel shotgun? >> we are dealing with a hypothetical. >> am i unreasonable to say i would prefer an ar-15? >> when you are dealing with a hypothetical -- >> i'm afraid that world existed, to some extent in new orleans. if there is a cyber attack against america and the power grid goes down and the dam is released and chemical plants
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discharged -- >> i don't think new orleans would have been better served with ar-15's. >> if my family was in the cross-hairs of gangs roaming around neighborhoods and new orleans or any other location the deterrent effect of an ar-15 is greater than a double-barrel shotgun but the vice president and i have a disagreement on that. can i ask one more question? >> there was 76,142 people filled out a background check. 1,362 denied the background check because they were fugitives from justice. how many of those fugitives were apprehended? >> i don't know what the
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numbersr but each of the cases are individually examined and determination is made as to whether or not prosecutions should be brought or where the prosecutions are. if you are talking about somebody who is a fugitive, i would agree with you, that should be a priority prosecution, but that person may not be there. >> i would suggest that 76,000 people failed a background check. only 62 were prosecuted and less than that number were convicted. obviously, we have some work to do when it comes to the current background system. thank you for your service. >> there have been questions asked about drones in the u.s. this committee will be holding a hearing on march 20. senator franken. >> i want to thank you, general
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holder for the department of justice's action in the proposition 8 case and the supreme court, brave decision on your part and powerful statement of the department's commitment to seek equality under the law for all people. in your testimony, you talk about the department's civil suit against s and p and you say the quote is you are seeking billion dollars in damages for alleged conduct that goes to the heart of the recent economic crisis, and i totally agree with that. i think the credit rating agencies because of -- the basic conflict of interest that is inherent and the issuer pays
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model where the issuer of a security chooses and pays one of the big three it was, moody's, s and p and some degree, fitch and the rating agencies gave out a.a.a. ratings to junk because they wanted to keep the business. and in the d.o.j. case, as part of the evidence, emails from between people at s and p saying look, we know this isn't deserving of a a.a.a. but we have to give it that. >> i don't want to go beyond the indictment. but that information or those kinds of emails are contained in the indictment. >> this is a statement by d.o.j.
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s and p falsely represented that its ratings were objective and not influenced by sap's relationship with jefment banks but its desire led it to favor the interests of these banks over investors. >> we believe our evidence will show that. >> now you say this goes to the heart of the recent economic crisis. isn't that because once they ran out of mortgages to securityize and subprime mortgages, and they gave a.a.a. ratings, right? >> i'm not an expert but when you start talking about the bets on bets, that is correct. but i'm not an economist or
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financial guy. >> i understand that. when you say it goes to the heart of the recent economic crisis, what i'm saying is is that this house of cards that collapsed would have been one card high if they hadn't given a.a.a. derivatives and derivatives on derivatives. >> the asergs you are making are correct that the financial system made bets on bets giving ratings to derivatives that were not necessarily deserved. i'm not talking s.a. -- s. and p now. >> this prosecution, it goes to the heart of why our economy collapsed and what it was was that the credit rating agencies had -- there was a conflict of
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interest they had because they knew if they gave a a.a.a. rating they would get more business. that's essentially what the case is about. >> that's the essence of the government's theory. >> senator wicker and i wrote an amendment to dodd-frank which said -- that gave s.e.c. the ability to address that, to eliminate the conflict of interest and that passing the amendment was -- in a bipartisan way, 64 votes, it got to conference and became a study that said that if the s.e.c. finds this conflict of interest still exists that they will address that conflict of interest and get rid of it. that's happened. and i think that is absolutely crucial that the s.e.c. act on that.
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so i wanted to just use your testimony get on my little soap box -- big soap box here, but i think it's absolutely crucial. i want to ask you about an entirely different matter, last fiscal year, 14,000 children arrived at our borders alone and subsequently entered our immigration courts system. since 2008, the department of health and human services has been in charge making sure that these children have access to legal representation. unfortunately, experts report half of these children are getting lawyers. my office has started to hear stories of eight-year-old kids, six-year-old children going before immigration judges by themselves without representation. attorney general holder, experts
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have suggested that transferring the job of getting these kids lawyers to be transferred out of h.h.s. and into the department of justice i'm considering this proposal closely. do you support doing this? >> we want to work with you in coming up with ways to ensure that children do have legal representation. if this is something that is better housed in the justice department, it is something we are willing to consider. but this is going to be a resource issue. we shouldn't give this responsibility to the justice department. as part of the immigration reform pack acknowledge we are considering it is inexcuseable that young kids and you are right, six, seven-year-olds have immigration decisions made on their behalf, against them, and they aren't represented which counsel.
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that is not who we are as a nation. >> i hope our offices can work together. you are absolutely right. this is unconscionable. thank you, mr. chairman. senator grassley? >> once again, thank you for coming up here. i want to follow up on your response to senator cruz and i think he talked about introducing a bill. do you believe that congress has the constitutional authority passing a law prohibiting the president to use lethal force against american citizens on u.s. soil? and if not, why not? >> congress has the ability to pass -- >> whether the legislation -- well, congress has the constitutional authority to pass a law prohibiting the president's to use lethal force
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against american citizens on u.s. soil? >> i'm not sure such a bill would be constitutional. i would have to look at the legislation, but i would have that concern. >> but your basis is is because of article 2? >> i believe so >> one last question in that area, given the belief that it would be constitutional to use lethal force against american citizens on u.s. soil in some instances as you said, would that theory extend to permitting the executive branch to use enhanced interrogation techniques against american citizens on u.s. soil to avoid a catastrophic event? >> i don't think those techniques should be used against anybody. they are ineffective and inconsistent with how we think of ourselves as a nation and outright torture.
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>> on another issue in regard to a letter you wrote to chairwoman mikulski on the budget control act in cutting $1.6 billion from the current level which would have serious consequences. specifically the letter detail cuts to the f.b.i. suggesting furlough of 775 special agents, most important assets to the national security and law enforcement. but the reality is as of yesterday, the department of justice was advertising for over 100 job openings on u.s.a. jobs web site. these include positions such as cook supervisor, dental hygienist, law librarian. and the department's web site has over 50 attorney positions listed since january 14. the memorandum was being issued
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by o.m.b. so i'm skeptical about your description of severe negative impacts on the impact including the estimated loss of federal agents fighting national security. further, your letter to the chairwoman failed to discuss cuts to conference expenditures, which more than doubled between 2008, 2010 and failed to discuss reductions in travel or other nonmission expenditures. what has a high priority when it comes to sequester? how do you reconcile the fact that the department is actively recruiting for hundreds of positions, including cooks and dental hygienists but you threaten to furlough 775 f.b.i. agents working on violent crimes? >> if the sequestration stays in effect, we are going to have to furlough f.b.i. agents. what i have told the people in
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the department is that hiring has to stop. doesn't mean that we should stop the process of going through the interviews so when the sequestration is over and funds are returned to us, we have the ability to fill gaps that we will have through attrition. we want to be in a position on the other end to have people in line to take positions that might be available but there won't be anybody brought on into the department of justice while sequestration is in effect. i made that clear to the heads. you can do the interviews and all that stuff and maybe have a person that you want to have in place once we are on the other side of sequestration. >> how does your direction to the chairwoman comply with o.m.b.'s memorandum to cuts? >> well, what we are talking about is just interviewing people and making sure that these are potentially people we
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might want to hire. the costs are minimal. >> how about cutting the 700 or so f.b.i. agents? how does comport with the memo of o.m.b. on minimizing? >> we have a certain amount of flexibility in the way the sequester is structured. you look at the various components within the department and there is little or nothing i can do with regard to the f.b.i. has taken in terms of a cut and we are the resources that we have, the money in the department of justice is in our people. we don't have airplanes. we don't fly huge amounts of planes. we don't have planes like the defense department. when it comes to reducing costs, i can furlough people and do things on the other side, conferences and things of that nature. the main we we have to reduce
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costs is with regard to furloughing our people which will have a negative impact on our ability to do our job the american people expect us to do. >> the o.m.b. memo requested proposals from the department and i asked you for a copy of these. would you provide these draft proposals to the committee so we can review what cuts the department requested and what o.m.b. recognized? >> i'm not sure i understand your question. >> o.m.b. sends you recommendations and then you send back what you are going to do. i want those documents so i can compare the -- what you recommended to what o.m.b. said should be -- have a higher priority. >> i'm not sure -- >> called passbacks. >> i'm not sure what the
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administration's position. but draft correspondence between an agency and o.m.b. about decisional matters would be the kinds of material we would seek to protect. >> my time is up, i heard in an interview that you said for the people that voted for the effort contempt effort against you that you didn't have respect for people like that. i'm extremely disappointed. i voted for you based on the fact that giving you the benefit of the doubt and disregarding previous cover cyst. it seems to me your comments show a disregard and that is quite shocking and i don't think you should have said it and you owe the people an apology. >> let me just say what i don't respect is the process.
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it was an effort that had a predetermined result. whatever we did in good faith was met by passing political determinations and that is a process that i don't respect and the people who pushed it are people as i said before, i stand by that, the people who pushed it i don't respect because it isn't consistent with cabinet members weren't treated when the gun lobby decided to score that vote, it was clear how the vote was going to turn out and it became something other than what it was portrayed to be and i don't respect. >> how can they take it up. >> history has shown in the past there was a much greater period of time for those kinds of negotiations to occur. if you look at what happened with harriet meirs and josh
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bolton, you will see the period we were given to try to respond to and negotiate was much, much shorter. there was a desire to get a certain point and they got there. >> i would say i agree with your answer. senator klobuchar. >> thank you. thank you, attorney general holder. i told you the other day senator lee and i are heading up the antitrust subcommittee and holding a hearing on the merger. but i'm wondering your views on some of the areas where we will see more potential action in antitrust, whether it's transportation, whether it's in health care industry, whether it is with communications where there has been a lot of action in that area and what direction do you see the department taking with antitrust?
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>> you have hit many of the areas that are going to be our focus. communications. and talking about spending time with regard to airline mergers. health care. all things that impact the american consumers. what we have tried to do in the antitrust division is focus our efforts in such a way that we benefit the american people with regard to lower prices, more competition and wherever we find the agricultural field, wherever we find instances there is inappropriate activity being taken that will have a negative impact on the american consumer, we will be there. >> i look forward to that hearing. second thing i want to talk about was the issue of -- i have seen increases of it in my
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state. we met at an electric company in minnesota about this. senator graham and i have a bill to up some of the penalties when copper and other metals are stolen from critical infrastructure. we are seeing nearly a billion dollars in damage across our country. the most striking example, 200 bronze stars were stolen from a grave in minnesota, from the graves of veterans and people are getting desperate to steal this metal. electric companies have been broken into 10 times in st. paul that experienced hundreds of thousands of dollars of damages. and one of the fears is because people have died because taking one pipe can do millions of dollars in damage. and i wanted you to comment on that. >> as i said to you, this is something that had not entered
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by consciousness and i have talked to a couple of people in the department who indicate that what you said was, in fact, true, that this is a growing problem and it is one that i think we need to devote resources to, attention to. this is not something that i was frankly aware of. but given the nature of what people have told me within the department, which is the potential harm not only in the theft of the material, but the problems that the theft actually present sip tates, houses blowing up, gas lines being ruptured, that this is something that we have to -- it's a new problem that we are going to have to focus on. >> briefly on this, i wanted you to know i'm continuing work on drug courts. a former congressman talked about this in the last congress about how drug courts have transformed the way we handle
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criminal cases. they are incredibly important as a prosecutor. i know you cared about this. we have a groundbreaking court and we have one in hennepin. the "new york times" had a story last weekend about federal judges administering drug court programs. if you want to comment briefly on that. >> i think that we have to try to use drug courts to a greater extent. they have germly proven to be successful. what we try to do is to use the criminal justice system in an appropriate way. sometimes people have to go to jail. a great number of people need to kick their habit. and if we can use the criminal justice -- the penalties of the criminal justice system as a hammer to keep that over people's heads and keep them in treatment, we have seen amazing success rates and a much lower
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residism rate and saves us money over the long haul. and something that is worthy of a greater support. >> in our state, we have one the lowest rates in the country and we we have one of the lower crime rates. i think it's important and i hope you'll support and the administration will support continued funding. we do have bipartisan support for it. >> that's one of those areas where we have to understand that whatever we invest up front, we are going to reap more money in savings down the roads. it is clear. >> and last thing i wanted to mention, you and i were in selma, alabama and part of the weekend was the way the police chief in montgomery handing over to john lewis to apologize.
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and you gave a beautiful speech on sunday. and i wanted to follow up with some questions about that. we know the supreme court recently heard the voting rights act case. can you talk about the implication of a court decision for voting rights? >> i can't comment too much because it is an independent case. the united states were a different place. the south is a different place, and yet the need for section 5 i think is still evident. if you look at the cases we brought in the last 18 months, two years or so, in texas, south carolina, florida, the ability to preclear things that those states wanted to do, the findings made by the three-judge panels that supported the justice department's position, given all the progress we have made, the problems persist and section 5 which is a critical part of the voting rights act should remain a tool that we
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have the ability to use. >> also just to note, i'm reintroducing the same-day registration bill and we have been able to have elections with the highest if not one of the highest voter turnouts in the country and i don't know if you know that is a long-term solution? >> we need to try to expand the number of people who participate and make it as easy as we can being mindful for the potential for fraud but come up with ways, same-day registration, portable registration and expanding the number of days people can cast ballots, that is the thing that dines this nation, our ability to vote, our ability to shape the congress that represents us on the state level as well. that's how people decide the future of our nation. and efforts to restrict the vote i think have to be fought,
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efforts to expand the vote, ability of people to vote have to be supported. >> thank you, attorney general, for your good work. >> last month, i joined a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to your department asking for any and all memoranda you might have that seek to provide legal justification or legal framework for making decisions regarding the targeted killing of american citizens using drones. the letter noted that senior intelligence officials have indicated that your department's office of legal counsel had prepared some written, but nonpublic legal opinions that articulate the basis for that authority. and notwithstanding that request, neither i nor members of this committee have received the o.l.c. memoranda.
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now somebody indicated earlier during this meeting that they thought that that memo, that the o.l.c. memo might have been leaked. it is not my understanding that it has been. what has been leaked is something that has been released by nbc news. it carries a heavy nbc watermark on it. it appears to provide a narrower perhaps more condensed legal analysis than what is available in the office of legal counsel memoranda. i turn back to the white paper in a minute, don't you think that this committee has an important oversight role over the department of justice's role in this analysis? >> yes, i do. and i have heard the committee expressly desire to see these memoranda and i will be bringing that to the attention of the appropriate people within the administration.
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i'm not unsympathetic to what you are saying. >> you are the attorney general and they will respect the process. are you saying you will make that available to us as members of the judiciary committee? >> i will bring that desire and my view to those are in a position to make those kinds of determination. i'm only one of those people. >> i understand. you do have clients within the government and you have to consult with them. i would strongly urge you to make that pitch quickly and that's important for us to review that as members of the judiciary committee which has oversight over your department. one of the reasons i think that is so important as i reviewed this department of justice office of legal counsel -- not sure where, but the white paper, as i review that, it raises more questions in my mind than it answers. the gist of this white paper as
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i see it says that the u.s. government may in fact target and kill american citizens using drones where there is an imminent threat, imminent threat of a national security sort to the united states, its citizens, its installations and so forth. that is a fairly familiar standard in the law and yet as you read on in this white paper, it becomes apparent to me that the definition of imminent used in this paper is different than almost any other definition i have seen. on page 7 of the white paper, the white paper goes so far as to suggest that imminent doesn't mean too imminent. specifically, it says that this condition, that of imminent, does not require the united
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states to have clear evidence that a specific attack on u.s. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future. but i have to ask, mr. attorney general, what does it meanf it doesn't mean something imminent? >> part of the problem is what we talked about in the previous question. i think the white paper becomes more clear if it can be eed in conjunction with the underlying o.l.c. advice. in the speech that i gave at northwestern, i talked about imminent threat and i said it incorporated three factors, a relevant window, opportunity to attack, the possible harm it would cause to civilians and heading off all future disasters and attacks against the united states. that's part of it. and without taking the position one way or the other, it is one of the strongest reasons why the
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sharing of the opinions -- the advice, the o.l.c. advice of this committee makes sense. >> you can understand my concern, as a lawyer who really knows a lot about these things you understand if that were the standard could be manipulated and give americans a lot of pause. i strongly encourage you to make that available to us. there are other aspects of the white paper that trigger this concern and i would like to find out if your response is the same. the white paper notes that the president must find in order for a drone attack on a u.s. citizen to occur, that the president must make a finding that capture of the individual is not feasible. but then the white paper goes on to state that capture is by operation of the memo's analysis, not feasible, if it could not be physically effectuated during the relevant
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window. it makes no definition of the relevant window of opportunity. meaning whatever it is that the president decides it is. and can you understand how that could be cause for concern? and isn't that fraught for manipulation? >> there is a certain degree of objectivity there in the sense that people become potentially captureable overseas venues at certain times and they become -- that window of opportunity creases to exist when they move or we lose track of them. so that i tend to understand. >> so do i understand you saying that the office of legal counsel memorandum which we might have the opportunity to review would provide further clarification on this point and would answer some of the questions that we have about the vagueness of that
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standard? >> i'm not sure. i'm just not sure. >> let me ask one other question, on another related point. in the last few months members of your department including assist ant attorney general perez have stated that the department of justice is considering certain reforms to the voter registration system. for example, perez stated that it should be the government's responsibility to automatically register citizens to vote compiling from data bases that exist. these statements and others can be read to suggest that there might be an increased role for the federal government to play in voter registration. voter registration is something as you know has been carried out exclusively by the states so it raises some federalism-related
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concerns with regard to the traditional role in running elections. is it the department's view that it has current statutory authority to promulgate regulations that would centralize voter registration in the federal government or increase the federal government's role in elections? >> the department of justice trying to incentivize states to come up with mechanisms so they would come up -- i mean, this is something that is of primary responsibility of the states. i think the federal government can help the states in the carrying out of that responsibility. >> you would agree that the federal government lacks statutory authority to centralize it? >> yes. but there are certain times when the federal government -- there are statutes that allow the federal government to become involved in the election
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processes that are normally carried out by the states. >> thank you, attorney general. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> great to be with you again. let me start with one question that has been fairly uniform across this entire committee today from chairman leahy to senator lee about the killing of the target. i share the frustration and concerns about transparency on targeted killings and one specific question on that. would you as we go forward support any form of judicial review in this context including the limited sort we have in fisa. would this move it forward? >> that is worthy of consideration. i want to make sure that the inclusion of a court did not, for instance, have some kind of
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inhibitting impact in the operations, but i think as john brennan testified during his confirmation hearings that is something worthy of consideration and something we ought to think about potentially making a part of the decision-making process. >> i look forward to working with you on that. you can hear unanimous concern about transparency and how to move forward in a way that protects both our constitutional liberties and our security as a nation. we just spent a great weekend together in selma and wonderful to meet your wife and hear her family's role in an important piece of american history. as we sit wondering what will happen to section 5, i'm concerned about section 5 of the national voter registration act, the motor-voter act, something that isn't currently under review. i'm hoping that the department is going to take up its enforcement obligation more actively.
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my sense is there have been very few actions taken on motor-voter and could make a positive contribution to voter participation. is the reason that there really hasn't been an active d.o.j. action a resource issue? we heard about sequester, or things we need to be doing to ensure that the critical part of this is used more actively? >> we have taken certain actions and we fide lawsuits against rhode island and louisiana, something going on in florida, these are matters that i think -- i'm not sure we are underenforcing it, but you hear this from all of the agencies that appear before you, we could use more when it comes to resources. it's a vital tool. and to increase the number of eligible citizens that can vote
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and make sure they are accurate in federal elections. this is something we want to know and one of the things we talk to tom perez, my guess would be we would like to do more -- i need more people. i think that's what he would say. >> we would be happy to have that conversation given the critical importance of voting. and as you have discussed with other members of this panel today, should there be a change in the section 5, i would love to work with you if there is room going forward for expedited proceedings and making sure that the voting cases get heard and strengthening or placement of the voting rights act. another area where i think resources is a critical issue and there may be a solution. in intellectual property, i come out of manufacturing and manufacturing relies on trade
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secrets protection as much as on patenting for critical steps in manufacturing. and there has been a barage of assaults and theft of theft of intellectual property. there was a report documenting just widespread and you have spoken to this theft of american intellectual property. but the number of prosecution around trade secrets has been very light and i understand the limitations of resources. would a federal private right of action help accelerate perhaps some of the assertion of rights and the ability to pursue justice on behalf of american manufacturers? >> that is something we should talk about and discuss. my instincts take me in the direction where you are and perhaps something we ought to do. but i would like to work with you and have the appropriate you and have the appropriate people from the department sit

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CSPAN March 6, 2013 1:00pm-5:00pm EST

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